Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spiritual Poverty & Salvation: Trusting God

Read: Luke 6:20

Spiritual poverty – being poor in spirit – is most important, and most obvious, in the process of salvation. The difference between spiritual poverty, or humility, and spiritual pride is illustrated in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

Read: Luke 18:9-14.

The Pharisee in this parable has great spiritual pride. He not only thinks he has high moral worth, he even boasts about it to God himself. I thank you God, that I am so worthy and moral, and not like that other scum.

The tax collector is poor in spirit. He knows he has nothing to bring to God, and he confesses it openly, with tears. He begs God for mercy, and he receives mercy and forgiveness. He is justified, and made right with God. The Pharisee remained in his sins.

There is a step between spiritual humility and receiving God’s mercy, and a step between spiritual pride and receiving God’s judgment.
Note verse 9: they trusted in themselves, that they were righteous”.

Spiritual pride says that I have all the righteousness I need: I’m fully self-contained. Spiritual pride is therefore trusting in myself, that I am righteous. The one who has spiritual pride trusts in himself.

But nobody’s morality meets God’s standard, no matter how good they make themselves look to other people. So the one who trusts in himself, or herself, is not saved. Whatever benefit this spiritual pride or “spiritual richness” has is for this life only. Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

On the other hand, the tax collector, poor in spirit, trusted in God by calling out to him for mercy. This was a genuine cry out to God to be saved, trusting that he would, and it was answered. Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

Spiritual pride is subtle and dangerous. You can become proud of all the good things: your bible knowledge, your serving, your preaching, your prayer life, your sexual purity, your evangelism. You can even become spiritually proud of how humbly you clean the toilet without receiving any recognition.

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