This week is the second part of our series discussing Thomas Charles’ treatise on pride. If you missed the introduction to this series, we want to encourage you to go back and listen to it.
We have found Charles so incredibly helpful because he articulates what we see and feel in our own lives. Sadly we do not lose our propensity to embrace pride when we become Christians. We must vigilantly guard against it, knowing that even the best things in our lives can become sources of sinful pride.
If we fall into self-sufficiency, even in our own religion, we quickly lose sight of our desperate need for God. And so we draw pride from the fact we have daily quiet times or serve our local church in some measure. As Charles puts it, when we are guilty of this, we are trying to establish our own righteousness.
“Holiness is apt to degenerate into self-righteousness," Charles says, "and what God gives for sanctification, we are in danger of applying for justification.” The proud Christian can’t look at the work of sanctification going on in his soul and recognize it is occurring without somehow attempting to add it to the work of Jesus for His acceptance before God.
Often we see our weakness and believe it to be our biggest problem. We are too weak to exercise consistent spiritual discipline. We are too weak to obey.
Charles says this dodges the real issue, which is arrogance in weakness. We must put our pride to death and come to God continually, seeking His grace and strength for obedience. Pride will not be the death of us. But Christ, and His work in us, will be the death of pride. Embrace that reality this week and run to Him who is zealous to see His work strengthened and completed in the life of every Christian.
We have talked a lot about pride in the last two weeks, and we hope you will take the time to read Thomas Charles’ treatise on the issue. You can find the text under Show Notes.
Fortunately for us, Charles also wrote on the issue of humility. We will spend the next few weeks discussing that.
In this week's Supporter Appreciation Episode, John highlights a book he has been reading as of late and found very helpful. You have heard us talk about John Newton before. We have even talked about the way he mentored and pastored other people through writing letters.
A collection of letters between Newton and John Ryland Jr. was recently discovered and published by The Banner of Truth Trust. John shares the story behind the letters and some of the highlights he has read from it.
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The Calvinistic Fathers of Wales by John Morgan Jones
Supporter Appreciation Episode:
Wise Counsel: John Newton's Letters to John Ryland, Jr. edited by Grant Gordon