The Boasting of the World (Part 1)

Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. (Romans 3:27-30 ESV).

Well, today I have decided to go in a slightly different direction with the Morning Devotionals. It is prompted both by the current events of our culture as well as an incredibly important part of Biblical theology. I found a meme that was interesting. The simple statement is “When you’re busy bragging on Facebook, remember there are people who know you in real life.” Social media has given everyone with access to the internet the ability to “boast.” In our reading today the Apostle Paul makes a reference to our natural inclination to brag. His simple declaration is that we have no right to do such. His application is to the gracious act of our redemption, which is all rooted and completed in God. About that we cannot waiver. God begins and ends our redemption. We have nothing to do to receive this incredible gift of God.

However, there is also an application to the broader patterns of our life. We all fail at some point in this common sin. Our fallen nature is to consistently elevate ourselves, typically by making others look worse than we are. We saw this played out in the original sin. As God questions Adam concerning his embarrassment at his nakedness, he does not admit his sin; he blames his failure on God (cf. Genesis 3:12). It is an amazing turn of events. Adam has gone from the amazing belief that Eve is “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (cf. Genesis 2:23) to the accusation of “it was that woman you gave me” who made me sin.

That is nothing more than pride! Today we find it at nearly every level of our relationships. We see it in our families, our friendships, our business partnerships, and in general to every group that is somehow “different” than we present ourselves. Pride has been the root cause of all the evils and miseries of the world. Paul says earlier in this letter, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18 ESV). The truth is available to all people in one way or the other, and instead of humbling ourselves under it, we stand over it and push it down. This is pride. It may take hundreds of different forms, from the most petite and delicate to the most powerful and crude, but the reality is the same: we will stand over the truth and accept what we like and suppress what we don’t. We are all sinners. No one is exempt from that failure. Starting there begins the journey toward humility and grace.