Blinds Catholics from the Truth
One of lifes greatest perplexities is why so many of the worlds population choose to believe Satans lies rather than Gods 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 devils 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 mans religions to conceal the truth of the Gospel. Through them he appeals to mans pride by offering alluring counterfeits that keep him in bondage and dead in his sin.
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 Christs 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 Gods 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 Lords 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 Satans 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
Pride not only produces self-deception but also a persecuting and contentious spirit. We know from Gods 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 Gods 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 ones physical needs blinds them from their spiritual needthe 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 Gods 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 Satans 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 Gods 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 Gods 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).
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