Commendable Pride?

A. pride: The quality of being proud. A high or overweening opinion of one's own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others; inordinate self-esteem.

B. Scripture has plenty of condemnation of human pride. 1. It will bring a man low. PRO 29:23. 2. It will bring shame. PRO 11:2. 3. It is the basis of contention. PRO 13:10. 4. It is the prelude to destruction. PRO 16:18. 5. God resists the proud. JAM 4:6. 6. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy...” (PRO 8:13).

C. Have you ever heard statements like these?: 1. “I’m proud to be an American.” 2. “I’m thankful that I am not as other men...” LUK 18:11. a. Paul was once impressed by his blamelessness. PHIL 3:6-7. b. To blame is to censure (an action, or a person for his action). c. One may be blameless in that he has not violated a code of conduct. d. One may also be blameless (technically) if he was not caught for a violation, or if he was wrongfully acquitted of a violation. e. Sinners can never truly claim blamelessness before God, as Paul found. ROM 7:7. 3. “I’m proud of my record/accomplishments/abilities/gifts/knowledge, etc.” But see 1CO 4:7; 8:1-2. 4. “I’m proud of you, son/daughter.” Be careful with this one. Don’t let a sense of thankfulness and appreciation for good character be an inlet to sin.

D. One’s heart may be lifted up positively or negatively. 2CH 17:6 c/w 2CH 26:16; 32:25. 1. The Hebrew word (gabahh, H1361) translated “lifted up” in 2CH 17:6; 26:16; 32:25 is rendered “haughty” in PSA 131:1; PRO 18:12; ISA 3:16; EZE 16:50; ZEP 3:11 and “proud” in JER 13:15. 2. With a little leeway, Jehoshaphat may be said to have been “proud” in a positive sense in the Hebrew. But this is a stretch. 3. We read of not glorying in one's own abilities or achievements but rather glorying in the Lord. JER 9:23-24 c/w 1CO 1:27-31; 2CO 10:15-18. 4. Paul also spoke of glorying in the cross of Christ (GAL 6:14) and of a confident boasting. 2CO 11:10-17. a. The verb “glory” means, “to exult with triumph, rejoice proudly.” b. Paul was “proud” of Christ, His blood, His cross, His grace, His gospel. c. Paul was decidedly not ashamed of the gospel. ROM 1:16. d. There is a considerable difference between glorying in oneself and glorying in the flawless, incorruptible God and His works.

E. What about PSA 31:23 where it is said that the LORD “...plentifully rewardeth the proud doer”? 1. Is this a commendable pride, along the lines of Jehoshaphat (2CH 17:6) or of Paul’s confidence of boasting (2CO 11:17)? a. Could it be said that this reward is to the likes of Paul for his unabashed dedication to Christ in duty, per 2TI 4:7-8? b. Could this refer to the greater reward for faithfulness in small things? MAT 25:20-23. 2. Considering what we have already seen, the text is at best ambiguous, and therefore not a proof text for the conclusion that God is commending pride here. 3. God not only rewards faithfulness, He also rewards sinners. DEU 32:41; ISA 3:11; PRO 26:10. a. The self-promoting Pharisees already had their reward. MAT 6:2, 5, 16. b. The vain rich fool was even plentifully rewarded. LUK 12:16. c. The Psalmist was perplexed at the prosperity of the wicked. PSA 73:3-12. d. But these rewards go no further than this life. LUK 12:20. 4. In context, the proud doer of PSA 31:23 is the wicked. vs. 18-20. a. The text sets forth a contrast between two classes: the faithful and the proud. b. This is not an uncommon contrast. JOH 5:28-29; ROM 2:6-11.

F. Soteriology which affirms God’s indebtedness to the sinner is full of excluded pride. ROM 3:27; 4:4. 1. The assumption of the false creditors on Judgement Day is that they deserve good reward. MAT 7:21-23 2. The response of the redeemed in that day will be akin to bewilderment, not demand. MAT 25:34-39.

G. Be thankful when God dispenses gifts with thorns. 2CO 12:7.

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