The same pride and self will which refuses help and causes injury to one’s physical body or possessions will also hinder and damage ones spiritual growth when help is rejected. Pride is defined as the deep pleasure derived from one’s own achievement. It is the lust of the flesh to which religion appeals because it involves an act that we must perform to gain some type of victory.
“18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:18-19
Religion will give us a method with great swelling words cloaked with Scripture to achieve or gain the victory which is already freely given by Christ Jesus by faith through grace. The reality is, we have failed to maintain that which the Cross of Jesus afforded the Child of God because we have fallen from Grace through faith and believed a corrupted gospel; we believed the “great swelling words” proclaimed by the religious and have put ourselves under law.
“8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Romans 7:8-9
These man made laws which bring the Believer back under bondage to perform an act in order to achieve that which ONLY the Holy Spirit can do in the heart and life of the Believer results in pride. This is the leaven which leavens the whole lump. Good intent and sincerity can not gain one liberty. Mankind cannot superintend the work of God in the heart of mankind…that is the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
“2 For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-5
When satan successfully moves the Believer’s faith from the Cross of Christ to maintain the victory freely given by Jesus’ finished work, which produces humility, and he deceitfully directs our faith to a man made law in order to gain the victory, which will always produce pride, we fall from grace and the Cross of Christ becomes of no effect. As we follow the lusts of our sinful flesh to gain victory by our intellect, abilities or self will, the Holy Spirit is not commissioned to free us from the law of sin and death and we remain bound; swept to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
If the power of sin is broken by something other than the Cross of Christ, then the Cross of Christ was in vain. God forbid no! If we must do something other than believe in the power of God, which is the Cross of Christ, to redeem mankind then the Cross of Christ was in vain. Again I say, God forbid no! Any work, method or philosophy given to break the power of sin in the Believer’s life or pay the penalty of sin in the sinner’s life other than Jesus Christ and Him crucified is another gospel and another Jesus which will always produce pride.
Jesus is the Source and His Cross the means by which we receive from God. Faith in Jesus, Who He is and what He has done for whosoever will believe cannot produce pride but a humble knowing that without Him, we are condemned to follow the things of the flesh; without Jesus we are condemned to the penalty of sin (death) and the power of sin.
“16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
-Donna Clark Warren