New City Catechism.  Week Twenty-Eight Q&A:  Q.  What happens after death to those not united to Christ by Faith?  (They will be cast out from the presence of God, into hell, to be justly punished, forever.)  The question for Week Twenty-Nine is:  “How can we be saved?”    

I’m convinced that the “Alpha” sin is PRIDE.  If you think about it, it was the first sin.  Isaiah 14:12-14 reveals how Lucifer’s fall was the result of his pride. And it’s pride that makes us think that we can somehow earn our salvation.  Even after we repent of our pride and are redeemed by God’s grace alone, Satan continues to use that pride and arrogance to tarnish our testimony and cripple our ministry for the Lord.   Philippians tells us that we are to do nothing out of “self-ambition or conceit;” and that Jesus “took the form of a servant” and “humbled Himself” for our salvation. 

Each month during the summer, I play in a golf scramble at Crestview.  I play in a foursome with three of my oldest friends.  Even though we think we’re pretty good, we’re just average golfers.  However, at a recent event, we were extraordinarily bad.  Embarrassingly bad.  The event always concludes with lunch and a small awards ceremony where a large board displays everyone’s score in numbers the size of clipboards.    So as we drove our carts back toward the clubhouse, I tried to convince the guys to go right to the parking lot and leave without turning in our scorecard.  “I’m more than willing to give up lunch; I don’t want to be humbled like that in front of those guys.”  My friends weren’t buying it.  “You can do what you want, but we’re going in for lunch.”  So I headed for the truck, but when I lifted my golf bag into the box, I saw my WWJD bracelet, and it was like God was throwing Philippians 2:3-5 at me.  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.   In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…

Talk about being convicted.  I slammed the tailgate and caught up with my friends. “Hey, guys, I’m really sorry, I just realized how prideful I’m being, and what an awful message I’m sending to you and all the other teams. That kind of pride’s a sin. Forgive me, will you? I’m sure that God wants me to reflect Christ today by going inside and humbly ‘counting others more significant than [myself],’ and by being happy for the other guys.  I just realized that If Jesus had been on our team, He wouldn’t have left. He’d have gone inside to congratulate the winners.”       

Now remember these guys are long-time friends—they’re used to my spiritual “mood-swings.” So I wasn’t too surprised when, as we all walked toward the clubhouse,  Ed muttered, “If Jesus had been on our team we’d have won this thing.” 

Written by Jim De Horn