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Saturday, December 3, 2011

So That No One Can Boast

Ephesians 2 8-10

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast [emphasis mine]. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

While representing a small minority of Christians I’ve encountered, I have met some who boast—some who are self-righteous.  Receiving something as a gift—not by works—is no guarantee of humility on the part of the recipient.  Surely we will witness this in a few weeks when Christmas arrives.  There will be children and adults who receive gifts Christmas morning who will flaunt them in barefaced one-upmanship.  Gifts received will only serve to fuel hubris and selfishness.  This is much like someone receiving a large inheritance only to have the windfall become the engine of stiff self-righteousness, self-centeredness, and pride. We should be cautious when in comparing Islam to Christianity we arrive at the categorical conclusion that Christian grace is superior in spiritual consequence over Islamic works.  Surely it is possible that a Muslim’s humility before God can be more efficacious in producing humility than a Christian’s penetrating pride of salvation.  Of course, we can say that a person so configured is not really a Christian.  We can also say that a Muslim who is not humble before God is not really a Muslim.  We are forced to conclude that holy wars serve mostly to confirm the delusions and self-justifications of self-appointed holy men.

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