We want to look a little more at what sin really is. Sin is what destroys us more than any sickness. Sin is what has brought chaos and confusion into the world. The answer to all of our problems lies first of all in being saved from sin even more than being healed from our diseases.
Do you realize that sin is more serious than sickness that if you heard a message that Jesus could heal your diseases, and the Jesus could save you from all your sins, which would you prefer? If you had a choice of one of the two, supposing Jesus appeared to you and said, “Either I can save you from all of your sins, or heal you from all your diseases.” Which would you choose? I think most people in the world would choose healing from all their diseases, even many believers. The reason is they have never understood how serious sin is. Sin, the destruction sin produces in our soul is invisible and that’s why we don’t realize how bad it is. It’s like when a smoker smokes a cigarette and his lungs are being destroyed, he doesn’t see it. If he could actually see it, he’d stop smoking. It’s the same way with sin, we don’t see it till it is destroyed us completely. The seriousness of it, the damage it is doing. And that’s why the message of the New Testament primarily is not that Jesus can heal you from all your diseases but Jesus can save you from your sins. In fact the meaning of the word Jesus in Matthew 1:21 is not healer but savior. He has come to save us from our sins. Of course he heals a sick, that’s secondary. But he primarily came to save us from our sins. And if we are to be saved from our sins we need to understand what sin is. What are we to be saved from? Sickness we understand. We saw last time in our last study that there were sins that Jesus condemned which were far more serious than any thing listed in the 10 commandments. In words sense. And we thought about hypocrisy, that’s one of them.
Today we want to look at another sin that Jesus spoke about, which is far more serious than many sins listed in the 10 commandments. And that is the sin of pride. In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable where he said about two people who went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee; the other was a tax collector who in those days like tax collectors in most times are cheats, who makes money from other people. Everybody knows they’re sinners. The Pharisees were people who appeared to be very holy in the outside, this Pharisee stood and prayed, located in verse 11, “God I thank you that I’m not like other man. I’m not a swindler, unjust, adulterer, or even like this tax counter.” And he listed all the things the he did, he fasted twice a week, he paid tax and so on. But the tax collector standing some distance away said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” And Jesus said that man went to his house justified that sinner rather than the Pharisee. What was wrong with the Pharisee? What was his sin here, which made God condemn him? Pride. Pride is what made the devil into a devil. He was an angel, a perfect angel; as soon as pride came into his heart he became a devil. It didn’t take even 1 second it was immediate. As soon as the thought come to his heart, God cast him down. The bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, “That God resist the proud.” God is always fighting against proud people. Wherever he finds pride, wherever he finds proud people, he’s resisting them, fighting them, standing against them because that is contrary to God’s nature. Just like if you’re a clean hygienic person you would hate filth and rubbish and garbage, whereas a pig doesn’t hate rubbish and dirty water. Why do you hate it? Why do you immediately have a revulsion to filth and rubbish? Whereas a pig doesn’t have such a revulsion. It’s a matter of nature. We don’t have a revulsion for pride because pride is part of our nature. We don’t see it as a filthy thing. We’re exactly like that pig. Wallowing in the mire and thinking, “This is okay.” But God’s nature is the opposite of that. He hates pride.
The bible says that Jesus humbled himself. He came down from heaven to earth, became a servant and demonstrated thereby what God’s nature was like, one of humility, and lowliness. And he showed thereby what man should be like. God created man to be humble and when man is proud what he has is the nature of Satan. The thing, which God hates, the thing, which God resists. It is sin. When you are proud of anything. If you are proud of your good looks, that’s a sin. Jesus came to save you from that, that you’ll never again be proud of your good looks. You can be good-looking, there’s nothing wrong with that. But to be proud of it, is everything wrong with that. What about your intelligence? There is nothing wrong with being intelligent; you can be the most intelligent person in the world with the highest IQ. That’s not a sin. But if you’re proud of it, even a little bit, that’s a sin. If you’re proud of the house you live in, proud of what you’ve accomplished in life, proud of your position in society, proud perhaps of the family you belong to, all of these are sins. And if Jesus has not saved you from these sins, I have to say that Jesus has not become your savior. What does he save you from?
A lot of people want to be saved from hell. But do you know the bible almost never speaks about being saved from hell? It’s speaks a lot more about being saved from sin and from the judgment of God against sin. But where do you find a verse in the bible about being saved from hell? Almost never.
Most of the verses about salvation speak about being saved from sin. The first promise in the New Testament, you should call his name Jesus because he will save his people not from hell or from their sicknesses but from their sin. Salvation from hell is the end result of being saved from sin. If you have saved from sin, you’ll saved from hell automatically. It’s like saying if you are saved from sickness you’ll be saved from death. You must be saved from sickness then you’ll be saved from death. That’s automatic. And should you say that you’re saved from sin, you’ll be saved from hell. That’s automatic. And that’s why as I said in the beginning we need to understand what sin actually is, pride, seeking the honor of man, glorying in what God gave us as a free gift. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Just think of that for a moment. Think of all the things you have in your life. Health, good looks, intelligence, a house, a job, a position, you never chose any of these. You never got any of these by any ability, which God didn’t give you. Maybe you were born with certain intelligence, you were born into certain family. You didn’t choose it. Why are you proud of it? What have you got that you did not receive? You say your comfort is so much, that’s because God gave you health for so many years. Think of another person who is bedridden, a paralytic or blind or deaf, if you were like that you would never accomplish what you did. So what do you have that you did not receive.
What about spiritual gifts, your bible knowledge perhaps. People can be proud of bible knowledge. That’s a sin. Bible knowledge is not a sin, but to be proud of it, for a preacher to stand up and be proud of the fact that he is such a wonderful preacher, accepted and invited everywhere. He’s the biggest sinner of all. Not because of his preaching but because he is proud of it. Because he goes back from his preaching and congratulates himself that so many people appreciate him. Maybe you have a large church and you are very proud that yours is one of the biggest churches in the city. And your church is growing more than other churches. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re proud of it you’re evil. And Jesus came to save us from pride. Pride is not listed in the 10 commandments just like hypocrisy is not listed. But that is the sin Jesus came to save us from. Jesus spoke about those who seek the honor of men, when they give money, when they pray, when they fast. What is this? This is all pride. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Don’t be like that.” Whenever we look down on others, think of the story of the prodigal son. What is the problem with the elder son in that story? He looked down on his younger brother. He said, “See what he’s like and see what I like.” Whenever you compare yourself with another person, and you think what a wonderful person you are, how much better you are. Maybe you are purer, or holier, you can be proud of your holiness. Maybe you are holier than somebody else, and you’re proud of it. You can say, “Lord I thank you that I’m not like people in that denomination.” When you’re proud of that of denomination you belong to, it’s a sin. There is nothing wrong in belonging to a good church, but when you’re proud of it, it’s a sin. You see there’s a lot of sin in the many, many good things that we do and what we have. And that sin is pride. Sin in our most religious and so-called spiritual activities, a sin which is unrecognized. And Jesus hates it. Imagine you got something in your life that Jesus hates. Don’t you want to be saved from it? Ask God to show you right now the areas in your life where you have pride because they are destroying you. And ask Jesus to save you from them right now.
This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen. You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.