Peanut butter and Jelly, Jurassic and Park, Lucky and Charms are all words that go hand in hand. When you think of one, you can’t help but think of the other. What about boasting and Jesus?
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Romans 3
To boast is to exalt or lift up. Boasting in one’s self is to exalt to the place of God. In the context of Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, it is to look at one’s actions or achievements as the case for acceptance with God. We are accepted by faith in Jesus. We are not free to determine what labor or work is necessary to be accepted. When we attempt to create the acceptance scale we are playing God. Boasting is the result of smug Christians. And a smug Christian is like a paycheck, it is the fruit of hard labor.
Self-glorification is in conflict with faith. When we lift up our own actions as a path to acceptance with God, we attempt to shackle God to accept us on our terms.
What does it look like to oppose self-glorification? Let’s look at the life of Jesus. The accuser tempted Jesus in the wilderness to solidify his sonship on the accuser’s terms and not on God’s (Matt 4). Yet, Jesus’ response was one of humility and trust.
…Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Matthew 4:10
And then Peter, Jesus’ rock, was tempted to establish his own terms when he learned of the Messiah’s pending death. Jesus’ response again was one of humility and trust.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23
And when the rebels mocked Jesus, “…Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Matthew 27:40 Again, Jesus’ responded by acting by God’s terms. He hung on a cross in humility and trust.
If we want to be men that shift the cultural tides we need to boast in the cross. We need to live lives on God’s terms and not on ours. And this is why I do boast. I boast in YHWH, the God that created all things and will one day restore all things for the good of those who trust him. Don’t be scared to live life by someone else’s terms.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
May God work in and through us this week, as we grow in patience, kindness and love with our friends, co-workers and families in the name of Jesus,