Pride Blinds Catholics from the Truth
Mike Gendron

One of life’s greatest perplexities is why so many of the world’s population choose to believe Satan’s lies rather than God’s truth. Yes, we know Satan "has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4). But the paradox is heightened when we realize the devil’s motive is to deceive, destroy, and kill while Jesus came to impart grace, truth and life. For man to follow the seductive schemes of the evil one, rather than the way of his benevolent creator, is indicative of the power of this spiritual blindness. Satan employs all of man’s religions to conceal the truth of the Gospel. Through them he appeals to man’s pride by offering alluring counterfeits that keep him in bondage and dead in his sin.

Religious Pride
This pride can take the form of religious arrogance or self-sufficiency. Many Roman Catholics reject the Gospel because they are proud of their religion. They believe they belong to the "one true church" and believe their church is necessary and sufficient for salvation. Those who were born into this religion become very defensive when approached by an ambassador for Christ. This protective pride is so apparent in my uncle, a Catholic priest of 53 years. He spent 30 years in Burma leading Hindus and Buddhists to the Catholic religion, not to Jesus Christ. Each time I approach him with God’s word he has a condescending attitude toward me for questioning his church and his position of authority. He belittles my references to the Gospel and rejects salvation by faith alone because he has confidence in his church’s sacraments and his religious rituals. Religious pride is one of the greatest obstacles to salvation because of man’s loyalty to his religion rather than to Jesus Christ.

Personal Pride
The prideful arrogance of self-sufficiency is also a great hindrance to recognizing one’s need for a Savior. The gospel of self-esteem leads people to complacency and a faulty dependence on their own righteousness. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3). Satan’s counterfeit gospel appeals to man’s ego and his desire to be master of his own destiny. Every world religion teaches that man can gain a right standing before a holy God by his own good works and religious rituals. They all teach that salvation is dependent upon what man does for God instead of what God has done for man through His only begotten Son. This is why the Gospel is offensive to those who are offensive to God. Man is deceived into believing he is righteous when he is not. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself (Gal. 6:3).

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Catholic Church where Catholics rely on the sacraments, penance the Mass and indulgences to merit the graces for eternal life. Nowhere is the glorious Gospel of Christ’s perfect and finished work of redemption so often rejected because of the prideful arrogance of self-sufficiency. Ask Catholics how they hope to get to heaven and many will boast in their good works. Very few will even mention the name of Jesus. It is no wonder that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Oh how we need to tell others of God’s Word, that He hates the proud in heart, and that if man does not turn in repentance, God will cast the proud into the lake of fire (Prov. 8:13). Yes, every proud person must be brought down. "The proud look of man will be abased, and the loftiness of man will be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. For the Lord of hosts will have a day of reckoning against everyone who is proud and lofty" (Isaiah 2:11-12). In Psalm 101:5, God reveals, "No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure."

L. R. Shelton wrote this concerning pride: "The Scriptures not only abound with references which show the Lord’s hatred of this sin, but they also describe a proud, haughty, conceited, vain, glorious, boastful man as being a child of the devil, a child of Satan. Why? Because when Satan was in Heaven as the highest created being in the universe, when he was known as Lucifer, the head angel, his heart was lifted up in pride and he fell to become Satan, the deceiver. Yes, ever since that moment of haughtiness when Satan’s heart was lifted up with pride, he has sought to blight angels and men with the same form of iniquity." Dr. John Ogilvie said, "Pride demands the false worship of ourselves. It is the original sin, wanting to be our own gods and run our own lives."

The Consequence of Pride
There are those who are ignorant of the Gospel, but their pride is what keeps them that way. The middle letter in pride and sin is "I." How harmonious! Self is at the heart of all sin, including the sin of unbelief. For out of the heart of men comes, among other sins, the sin of pride (Mark 7:21-22). We have heard the proclamations of prideful unregenerate men. "I am my own authority. I am in control. I am good enough. I can live independent of God. I have my own ideas about heaven and hell." Whenever "I" is on the throne, it causes men to reject God’s word and His sovereignty.

Pride not only produces self-deception but also a persecuting and contentious spirit. We know from God’s word that pride is followed by shame, debasement, wrath and destruction. It is characterized by the devil, the world, false teachers, the unregenerate and those with unteachable spirits. The greatest obstacle to learning the truth is the haughty arrogance that you already know it. Such were the religious leaders of the first century and the Catholic clergy of today. Jesus rebuked them soundly: "they do all their deeds to be noticed by men...they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places." (Mat. 23:5-7). In doing so, they "shut off the kingdom of heaven from men" (Mat. 23:13). Rather than preach the truth of God’s word they sought the approval of men.

The prophet Hosea wrote about another consequence of pride which is so fitting for the people in our country today. "They became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore, they forgot Me" (Hosea 13:6). Those who are content do not recognize the source of their blessings or their spiritual needs. So often the satisfaction of one’s physical needs blinds them from their spiritual need—the need to have their sins forgiven so as to be reconciled to God.

It is no wonder God opposes the proud and hates pride. For what on earth do we have that did not come from His hands? The only thing we have earned from God, through the wages of our sin, is the eternal lake of fire. It is God’s mercy that keeps Him from giving us what we do deserve (hell) and his grace that gives us what we do not deserve (heaven).

Pride is not only what caused Satan’s fall, but it is also what caused the fall of humanity into sin. So it comes as no surprise that the evil one uses pride as a means to obscure God’s plan of salvation by grace. He gives man something to do to be saved so he can boast. Little does the unsuspecting sinner know that his works nullify God’s grace, the only means by which God saves sinners (Rom. 11:6). Tragically, the end result is that Satan will have many who follow him into the eternal lake of fire.

Those who follow Jesus will boast in the name of the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31). "Let him who boasts boast of this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:24).

It is time for the proud to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and to take His word seriously. For God will look upon "him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2).

Reaching Catholics For Christ
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