I heard an awesome sermon in church last Sunday. There was nothing in the sermon that I didn’t know already. It was a presentation of the Gospel. But somehow it seemed so wonderous and new, like I was hearing it for the first time.
Part of the message was that according to the Christian faith, the problems of the world are not “out there.” They are in each of our own hearts. The problem is not that people are committing various sins, but that we are, each and every one of us, stricken with the disease of pride that leads to sin. Pride is rebellion against God, and it creates enmity between me and God as well as between me and my fellow human beings.
Our guest minister, Chris Nye, made the statement that “pride turns angels into demons.” It also turns humans into sinners of all kinds.
Now none of this is new information for me. I’ve even written a blog post on the evils of pride before and how it is the chief sin that led to Lucifer’s expulsion from heaven.
As part of the sermon, which was based on Psalm 51, Chris talked about the story of David and Bathsheba. I’ve read this story of how David’s pride as King led him to take Uriah’s wife because, after all, whatever the King wants, the King gets. And how David was then humbled before God by the prophet Nathan pointing out his sin. This story was not new to me. I even wrote a blog post in which I mentioned this story.
Although no one part of Chris’ sermon was new to me — he even quoted some of my favorite C.S. Lewis — it was as if I was hearing the Gospel for the first time. It was fresh and new, and it spoke to the struggle I was having that very day and that had been plaguing me for several weeks. Somehow it revealed my own pride that I had so handily dismissed or ignored.
This is what I love about the Word of God and the Gospel. It never gets old or stale. It is always relevant.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV).
It’s not a new story, but the Gospel is a Truth that is relevant to each new situation that comes along. The Bible’s focus on pride as the root of all sin explains so many, if not all, of the difficult situations we find ourselves in. Pride comes disguised as a variety of “lesser” sins, and sometimes even as virtues, but somewhere deep down pride is running the show. And pride always creates enmity. The only way to true peace — within myself, with God, and with others — is humility.