Boast in God
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
In the passage that we have just studied, we have come to the realization that God does not make distinctions between people. All have sinned and all are justified freely by Jesus. They are redeemed, their sin debt is paid by Jesus’ sacrificial death on their behalf.
And the point of all of this is to reveal the nature and character of God. He is both merciful and just at the same time. He is the just, sin is punished in Christ and He is the justifier, sin is forgiven in Christ.
It seems strange to me then, that Paul would then turn to the issue of boasting. But this is a human problem. We have pride in our culture, people and ideas. God wants us to have pride in His culture, people and ideas!!
So, let’s consider the issue of boasting. Why would someone boast about their salvation? Their standing with God?
- Problems with Boasting
- It’s a man centered attitude concerning God
The desire to boast reflects a man centered attitude concerning God. In other words, God doesn’t care about your boasting, except that it is bad, and the approval of people doesn’t matter!!
“We’ve got the Spirit…”
We are not saved to be selfish. And selfishness is an evidence of the flesh, not the Spirit. Prosperity doctrine, pride in “your salvation.” Salvation only presented as “what God has done for you.” God loves you that is clear. But it has been painful for Him and He clearly has had to work at it!!!!
People are different from each other. This is God’s idea. We have different gifts I Corinthians, different life experiences, and different personality strengths. Because people are different from you does not mean someone is wrong.
Do justly, love mercy! How about both!!!
- If it weren’t negative it would be irrelevant
Boasting in the law 2:23
Boasting in God’s favor 2:17
Godly wisdom as it relates to others.
James 3: 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 4: 1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Boasting is not gratitude
Boasting is not humility
Boasting ignores grace
Finally, boasting is not from love
- It is not from love
I Cor 13: love… Is not jealous, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
Since love is the basic responsibility of all people toward others, boasting is a failure to love! Boasting in yourself promotes self, love seeks to build others up.
The second thing I see in the NT relative to boasting is its ability to ruin good works.
- Boasting and Truly Good Works
Because the truly good works are the works of Jesus for us and the Holy Spirit in us: Redemption and Sanctification, those are the things we should pursue, love, glory in and boast in.
- New Testament examples
When we do good things for the wrong reasons we ruin those works! Giving, fasting and prayer. They will not accomplish their work. The reward of those disciplines is to strengthen us to manage our naturally sinful selves.
Prayer fights pride, but not if you pray in order to be noticed by others and thought pious as a result of your prayer life. Do we seek the connection with God through prayer, deepening our relationship on Him, or do we seek to gain honor from people?
Giving fights greed, but not if we give in order to be noticed by people. Then we have that honor as our reward.
Fasting fights sensuality, but not if seek to be honored by people as a result of our fasting.
To seek honor from people is a fundamental spiritual flaw! Hear me in this. I do not want you to ever do what I say apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must be led by the Spirit to give! We must be led by the Spirit to practice intentional self-discipline. We must be led by the Spirit in our prayer life. (My prayer life and EM Bounds books on prayer. David Brainerd praying in the snow)
Seeking the praise of men is addressed often in the NT:
Jesus: John 5: 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
Paul: Galatians 1: 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul: I Thes 2: 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
Why seek the approval of people? So we might influence them. Or so we might feel better about ourselves. Should we want God to influence people???
- Since Jesus has done the work, why boast?
I Corinthians 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Grace is a gift by definition
Faith is a gift as well
Your works are prepared by God in advance for you
No one can boast!
Ephesians 2: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
- Influence comes from being like Christ
II Corinthians 10:
1 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away!
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.
17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
II Corinthians 11:
16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
III. Celebrate God and Others
We have a desire to boast, to celebrate, well then go ahead!!
- Be thankful not boastful
Magnify what God has done in and for you. Brag on Jesus! Revel in the love of God for you. Revel in the mercy of God.
“I thank you God that I am not like…” This is not good enough!!!
- Celebrate don’t compete
Don’t tear others down!! That is a component of boasting.
Allow others to receive praise. Desire God to receive praise through others.
Proverbs 27:2 Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.
I really appreciate…
This really meant a lot to me…
I found this helpful…
- Serve others in humility
The Son of Man has not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many.
Combine that idea with the idea of being yoked with Christ in ministry.
If we are yoked with Jesus in ministry, this is how we will minister.
Keep in mind the conversations that the Disciples had about who was the greatest.
Keep in mind Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees in Matt 23:
11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Hero worship in the church. Our faith is verified if a celebrity accepts Christ. This is not good. Neither is having Christian “stars.” It is those with “lesser” gifts that are more important.
You will be able to find examples of Christian people who are competing and self-promoting. But you will not find Jesus this way.
Humility does not mean that you are better than I am, or that you are more deserving or that I am more deserving. Humility means that I understand who God is, what His character is and I submit to that character and seek to emulate it. Therefore I serve.