“Do not become proud, but fear”
Can we “become proud” because our regular reading and meditation on God’s word results in us seeing more and more of its meaning!? Could we become somewhat like those who succeed in completing a very large and complex, but wonderful jigsaw (if such exists)?
The warning we read today – Paul’s warning to the Romans – prompts this question – this self-examination! Paul develops a significant point in chapters 10 and 11. The collapse of natural Israel is near, they are going to suffer for rejecting their Messiah, they were even going to lose the wonderful Temple that Herod had built; the focus of belief and work by and for God was going to be among the Gentiles.
In chapter 11 Paul makes the vital point that
“at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (verses 5,6).
Those “chosen” in this way – have their anticipation of salvation as a “gift” – oh the wonder of being “chosen by grace”. How tragic if they (we?) do not truly appreciate this.
How potent with meaning for ourselves, is Paul’s warning to the Romans; the Jews are being
“broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear” (verse 20).
This is “fear” in the sense of being in utter awe of the wonder of what God must be – especially his all-seeing eye! How ‘blind’ are human eyes today – how blessed are we in contrast. We must make sure we
“stand fast through faith”.
The words we read recently in Jeremiah are so true!
“O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not” (5:21).
May the blindness of spirit that surrounds us – not influence us. On the other hand, we must “not become proud” of our knowledge, but have a wholesome sense of “fear” – that is, awe, in our hearts. Paul had this sense of awe – it was the result of getting closer to God and taking into his heart a fuller sense of all that the Creator and His son must be. In the climax of this chapter Paul says,
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! … For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (verses 33,36).
Meditate on this – and in no sense will we “become proud” – indeed, the very opposite.