PART #02 of “A PROGRESSIVE REVELATION”
“If we had to single out just one thing that is mankind’s greatest and deadliest enemy it would be pride”.
This five-letter word, ‘pride’, when placed into action, destroys everything in its path.
The attitude of pride destroys love for others, homes and nations, both great and small.
People, both important and insignificant are affected by pride leading to foolish actions and decisions resulting in utter disaster.
And the harsh truth is that ‘nobody’ is immune to it. For this spirit of pride can surface its ugly head at any moment without warning.
And if not controlled and nipped in the bud, it can and will lead to both short and long term disasters.
Pride is the ‘forerunner’ to destruction.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” [Proverbs 16:18].
There is not a man dead or alive, who has not paid the price for pride in some way or the other.
There are no doubt the positive sides to pride like dignity and self-respect that are wonderful attributes.
But they are far and few in between, and there is a very fine line separating the positive and negative aspects of pride.
For the negative far outweighs the positive as far as the emotion of pride is concerned.
A well-known Bible scholar put this this way:
“’Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance”.
And when it comes to our eternal destination, it is this ‘pride’ that will keep many millions, even good people, out of heaven.
And that is not worth it, for pride causes unbelief.
You Can’t Be Saved Until You’re Lost
To be saved makes no sense unless one is lost.
Jesus Himself said in [Luke 5:31-32], “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick”.
And that, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”.
Only sinners qualify being lost! Not the righteous.
And to qualify being a sinner, each of us, individually, must humbly accept the truth, which Paul lays down in [Romans 3:23].
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.
This is another ‘absolute’ of Scripture and it is only pride that can stop us from accepting this truth.
We started by saying that, “Pride is the biggest enemy of mankind”.
Because pride says, “don’t you admit that you have a need. You’re good enough, and God will accept you.”
No He won’t!
For the Scripture says we have to be lost before we can be saved.
Man’s Righteousness Not Good Enough
God can never save man in his own righteousness, for man’s righteous is like a “filthy rag” before God [Isaiah 64:6].
And this is the only kind of righteousness that religion can offer and promote.
“For I say unto you”, Jesus Christ was speaking to the multitudes in [Matthew 5:20].
“That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”.
These religious Law-keeping Jewish leaders were standing on their own established righteousness.
Jesus Christ categorically told them, it was not good enough to make Heaven, for Heaven required the highest standard of righteousness.
And that highest standard is the very ‘Righteousness of GOD’ Himself, which would be impossible to attain by any religious standards.
And so it must be by faith, ‘without religious works’.
The Apostle Paul’s Great Burden
This is exactly what Paul the apostle who had a great burden for his fellow Jews, was talking about in [Romans 10:1-3].
“My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved”.
God’s primary purpose is all about Salvation. If one does not have HIS Salvation, then he has ‘nothing’!
“I bear record that they (these religious Jews) have a zeal for God”, says Paul.
He knew exactly what he was talking about, for it was the very place where he had come from.
Before Paul had that blinding encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul was a fanatical religious zealot,
Up until then his fanatical, zealous, religious ideologies drove him to viciously persecute his own fellow Jews, who followed Jesus Christ.
Paul speaks about this fanatical zealousness of his in [Galatians 1:13-14].
It is the same way in Christendom today.
The religious legalists persecute those who follow Paul according to the Scriptures in [1 Corinthians 11:1].
And so Paul says that although his fellow Jews had a great zeal for God, it was “not according to knowledge”.
A Willful Ignorance
“For they being ignorant of ‘God’s righteousness’”, were, “going about to establish their own righteousness”.
And this ignorance was a ‘willful ignorance’.
It’s not that they did not know. Oh they knew! For Paul says that they, these religious Jews, “have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God”.
So they knew about it, but refused to embrace it.
And that is religious pride!
It is no different today.
For it is this this same religious pride that is so prevalent today, even within the framework of Christendom.
It is this very pride that will not allow men to submit to the ‘Righteousness of God’, which is by faith + NOTHING!
And God just can’t save and justify these kinds of people, for they depend on their own works.
For, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” [James 4:6].
And the sad and bad news is that this pride, which is ‘devil-induced’, will keep millions out of heaven.
For it reeks of conceit and arrogance!
And as much as we don’t want to admit it, but this conceited and arrogant attitude within Christendom has put off many.
God can look past ‘genuine ignorance’, which He did in the past as Paul tells the men of Athens in [Acts 17:30].
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at”.
“But”, having once enlightened us with the Truth of the cross, HE now commands “ALL men everywhere to repent”.
And this repentance is a not a “groveling in sorrow”. It is a change of mind and heart to believe in the Gospel of our salvation.
God Just Wants To Be Believed
God’s chief desire for us is that we believe Him by faith.
For it is His perfect will to, “have ‘ALL’ men (and not just some men) to be saved”.
The Holy Spirit inspires Paul to say this in [1 Timothy 2:4], “and come to the knowledge of the (HIS) truth”
[Hebrews 11:6] tells us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God”, which is one of the ‘absolutes’ of Scripture.
“For he that cometh to Him must believe that He is”, Who He says He is.
Today, He says that ‘He is’ the One, in the Person of the Son, Who “died for our sins”. HE was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures for our justification” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4] and [Romans 4:25].
Having done it all and declaring it “finished”, all God requires now is for us to believe it.
If we can do that, just believe, then HE moves in, saves and seals us for all eternity.
Paul, talking about his zealous fellow Jews, puts it like this in [Romans 10:4]:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that BELIEVETH”.
The moment we believe, God judicially declares us righteous by His standard and this is the one that counts for eternity.
Here is how our great apostle Paul confidently puts it across in [Romans 3:21-22]:
All the Law could do was condemn and declare us guilty. However, because of the cross Paul opens his statement with “But now” which really is music to our ears.
But now, there is this tremendous loophole big enough for the whole world to come through if they would.
“But now the righteousness of God without the law…….”
Here we’re coming to the end of the shadow, of all that went before in the Old Testament. We’re coming to the real thing.
And that this righteousness of God, “is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”
Being too ‘Pauline’, is an accusation we face from time to time.
They say, “you make too much of Paul. Paul isn’t the only one that knows any of these things.”
Well Paul the apostle never claimed that he did.
In fact, Paul says that everything revealed rests on that which went before.
So what went before the Apostle Paul?
“The Law and the Prophets”.
Paul never claims to have just come out of the woodwork with all this.
What Paul writes is all just part of what we call “progressive revelations”.
From Genesis 1:1, this blessed Book of the Bible is a progressive revelation.
It’s all like a little river that starts as a tiny stream up there in the mountains somewhere. One can walk across it on a few stones.
It keeps expanding more and more as it comes further down. And by the time it gets close to the sea, one would need a ship to get across it.
That is how the progressive revelation of Scripture is.
It just keeps expanding and expanding, and that’s why we can’t plumb the depths of it.
The Old Testament Economy
Paul claims by inspiration that everything he’s had revealed to him is resting on the “Law and the Prophets”.
It was through the Old Testament economy / programme that Christ came in His first advent to present Himself to the nation of Israel.
But they rejected and crucified Him.
This was in order to become the “supreme sacrifice” that the Law again, was just a shadow of.
The ‘real’ had come and was here to stay!
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:…”
And that’s another pill that’s hard for some people to swallow.
Because it is Faith plus Nothing!
It’s a free gift that you cannot work for.
It does not matter what anybody may say, for the Scriptures make it so plain that this is where it’s at.
It’s “BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART! [Romans 10:9-10]
…..To be continued in Part #03 coming shortly.