April 18, 2007 Matthew

Pride and Superiority

“You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.” (Exodus 33:5)
Because of pride, one is unable to see their sinfulness. Pride completely blinds us to our sin.

Pride is so monstrous and wicked. And just as C.S. Lewis once said, it is enmity against God. It is everywhere and is the world you wake up to every morning. And what’s more, it permeates America in a special way.

Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.” But if pride blinds us, we don’t see just how much forgiveness we all really need. Where’s the love, people ask? Most people in the West, consider themselves “good people”. Everything they do is right in their own eyes. We find, too, that a Christian in this blindness does not think he has a whole lot of sin to be forgiven of. Tell me where the repentance and forgiveness is, and I will tell you where the love is.

But as one draws nearer to the light of God’s word seeking His righteousness, he will see himself for what he really is: fully impure and fully in need. He is a soul alienated from God and righteousness. Even the ‘good works’ are only as dirty rags. That is total depravity and pride utterly blinds us to it. In this, I think we begin then to understand the prick of Peters convicted heart when he told Jesus, “depart from me, I am a sinner!”

I have noticed a most interesting contrast between the popular gospel songs of China and the popular gospel songs of America. According to Jesus Film project research over the last 25 years, China is seen to be incredibly responsive to the gospel while America has been very unresponsive. The popular gospel songs of the Chinese church are thick with humility and are full of that sweet aroma of repentance and very often speak about forgiveness for their sins. You (who are in America) know what the popular gospel songs in America are. I have noticed a little movement in American Christian worship back to some of the old hymn songs which, interestingly, are rather thick with humility and forgiveness…Jesus Paid it All…Come thou Fount…Before the Throne of God Above, to name a few. Just look at the words of those songs and the conviction behind them. The blood of Christ and the cross were so predominate.

It must have been inevitable that our nation should be so tempted to pride. God has made it a superior nation in nearly every way in the last century. The most successful, the wealthiest, the most gold medals, the most educated, the most missionaries, etc. We look up to no one. My question then is how can the American Church, if it follows suit in its superiority, ever know and see the power of Christ which is only “made perfect in weakness”?

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