Rejecting God? The Sin of Pride
Imagine you and your family on vacation in Aruba. The warm ocean breeze blowing gently in your hair, while the glittering pristine waters sparkle as far as the eye can see. You’re all relaxing under a shady tree when you son decides he wants to cool off. He grabs his inflatable raft, kicks off his sandals, and darts towards the waters. “Ahhhhhh,” that’s refreshing.
Stretched out on the raft, dead to the world, lost in only his blissful state of personal paradise, he begins drifting outward. Worriedly, you jump up to yell for him to come back to shore, but he’s lost in his own world and isn’t listening.
Though he can faintly hear your pleading for him to listen, he’s overwhelmed with the sounds of the waves and the wind in his ears, and just doesn’t want to be bothered by your hysteria. Then the inevitable, you see sharks. You begin frantically shouting at the top of your lungs for him to come back, but he’s too far for you to swim. You grab a life raft with a rope and toss it to him, but he’s hopelessly lost, cast away in his own being.
Why won’t he respond?
Because he’s so caught up loving what he’s doing, loving himself, that he’s blind to the reality around him.
Sadly, this is the state of many who reject the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the reality is people that reject Jesus reject him because they love sin. They love their lusts and immorality so much so, that they’ve rejected all notion of consequences for their choices, and continue in their ways to their destruction, and the last thing they want is a holy and righteous God impeding on what they believe is a “good time.” But what they fail to realize is that they are already under God’s judgement, and just because they have rejected him, doesn’t mean they won’t have to face him on judgement day.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 says
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Natural man does not seek God or seek salvation from God. Psalm 53:1-2 says:
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good.
God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
Paul affirms this in his letter to the Romans; “no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). Man seeks to indulge himself in his own desires, and refuses to acknowledge that the desires of their heart are not only deceitful, but disastrous (Jeremiah 17:9). And any call to them to turn from their lustful and worldly desires are met with deaf ears, as this is total foolishness to them who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18).
People are turned off to the saving grace of the cross for a number of reasons. Another reason may be simply that they don’t understand the true Gospel. In man’s natural, unregenerate state, one cannot understand the things of the Lord (1 Cor. 2:14). It takes an act of the Holy Spirit to open one’s heart and mind to the spiritual knowledge of God.
Perhaps someone has heard a false gospel at some point, for example, the “prosperity gospel.” This false gospel teaches that by accepting Jesus, you now have Jesus at your disposal to meet the material needs, and shower material blessings upon you at your discretion. Your faith in him is reciprocated with “prosperity.” Yet, when these things fail to happen, the unconverted person becomes discouraged and loses interest. However, he continues to believe that this is what Christianity is and has no interest in entertaining any concept of God since his experience was typified. But when drilling this back down it all boils down to the same root cause-the love of sin. These people were only looking to get something for themselves out of Jesus.
Another common reason people reject the word of God is pride. Their pride can be intellectual pride or moral pride, but both are the transpired transgressions of a wicked and deceitful heart, and God hates it (Proverbs 8:13). The morally proud man stands in contrast to God’s word and refuses to believe that he is wicked (Romans 5:12, 2 Cor. 4:4).
This is a typical standpoint from the New Age movement. The new age worldview teaches that there is no such thing as sin, evil or Satan, and stands on the pantheistic belief that God can be found in everyone and everything-all is one, all is God. This morally relative worldview is really not new at all, and stems from old Pagan and Eastern mystic religions, and is really no different from any other false Gospel. It’s a belief that teaches that man is inherently good and does not need a savior.
Unfortunately, however, for the lost, not believing in the law, or the transgression thereof, does not exempt you from accountability to that law. If a convicted murderer tells the judge that he doesn’t believe that killing is wrong, nor does he believe that jail exists, he’s going to have a huge surprise for waiting for him. Believing that we are not sinful is a lie of Satan (John 1:8). The truth is, because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, man is now inherently evil, and nobody can stand blameless in front of God in his own right (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:1, etc.)
Perhaps a more common form of pride is intellect. There is a major war being waged against Christianity and has been since its inception. The Word of God is attacked on every front, yet never defeated. But this doesn’t stop the prideful intellect from believing that is has. The cohorts of the Vatican, Jesuitical influences and collegiate level criticism of the Bible have led many to believe that the biblical texts are corrupt and that the Bible is not the Word of God, but a false amalgamation of man-made stories.
Many other attempts have also been made to discredit the truth of the Bible, such as the false theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory. The proud intellect is too arrogant to believe that he may be wrong and pretentiously buys into the attacks on God. These individuals are what Paul describes as “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) They read and study constantly, making an idol out of knowledge, yet without the Holy Spirit, you can never know the truth.
Pride is a subtle, but serious sin-perhaps the most serious. Pride is inherently the cause of all wickedness, and causes us to rebel against God, and disobey him. Pride defiles man (Mark 7:20-23), but the world rewards it (1 John 2:16). Pride prevents people from receiving the truth (Psalm 10:4), and from receiving God’s grace (James 4:6). But pride ultimately brings shame and destruction to people (Proverbs 11:2, 16:18-19, 29:23).
Yet people cannot accept God because they are deluded and caught up in their desires of their heart. Jesus Christ is light, and he shines his light and exposes the wicked heart of man, which proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. Man will flee from this light for fear of having their wickedness exposed (John 3:19-21). People want to continue in their sinful ways, and will attempt to rationalize their sin through their pride and arrogance.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19-21
The Greek word for translated as judgement here is “krisis,” prounounced “kree’-sis,” and according to Thayer it primarily means a trial, or tribunal, the act or process of judging rather than the sentence or punishment itself.
As we can see, with Jesus being the light that shines on man’s wickedness and exposes it, Jesus didn’t come to bring judgement, but it is his very nature that is judging of our sin. His very nature is pure and holy, and when man’s deeds are measured against his infinite righteousness, his deeds appear like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
In order to be declared righteous by God, we must put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ himself because he alone is without sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Philippians 3:9). It is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, by the only sinless man who ever walked the earth (1 Peter 2:22), who is fully God himself (John 1:14, Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 2:9), who took the punishment for our transgressions (1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:5), who rose again (Romans 10:9), so that whoever believes in him, shall be rescued from his deluded world, saved from his sin (Romans 6:6, 2 Cor. 5:17) and saved from eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). We must turn from our idols of pride, intellect, and delusion, and turn to Jesus Christ alone for our salvation.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!-assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:17-24