Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Reason to Boast

2 Corinthians 10:17 "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

17 Ὁ δὲ καυχώμενος ἐν κυρίῳ καυχάσθω· 18  οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἑαυτὸν συνιστάνων, ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν δόκιμος, ἀλλὰ ὃν ὁ κύριος συνίστησιν.

We seem to have a natural inclination toward boasting to some degree.  I suspect that we like to cover up our own insecurities with bluster.  This is pretty evident in the sports world.  I'm from Cleveland and I know what it's like to see your team lose time and time again.  The folks there want a championship because it is such a part of their identities.  They want to boast in one of their teams winning a championship because they feel like they're always looking up to other cities.  In the sports world that is certainly true.

I suppose that if you're a Yankee fan you can boast in your team.  After all, they have historically been the best franchise in baseball history.  A Cardinal fan can do the same.  Indians, Cubs, and Pirates fans can't do that as well.  This is one reason why LeBron's departure was so hard for the people of Cleveland.  They don't really care about the Cavs or about LeBron, but they desperately want a championship.

Paul turns this kind of thinking on its ear.  After all, even the Yankees don't win every year.  They even missed the playoffs in 2008.  This kind of boasting is always going to leave us empty.  Boasting in ourselves is going to do the same no matter how good we may be at something.  This is a truth that all athletes discover sooner or later.  Life is uncertain and bodies break down.

But the Lord is always worthy of boasting.  We can commend ourselves all day long, but it means nothing if we do not have God's favor.  How do we get God's favor?  We need to be in Christ.  Apart from Christ nothing we do is truly commendable.  It's nice when a Mother Teresa feeds the poor, but evangelism was forbidden at her shelter.  In other words, she was sending people to hell with full bellies.  And, based on her theology and testimony, I suspect that she did not really know Christ either.  In other words, even someone as seemingly selfless as a Mother Teresa has no reason to boast.

We are all sinners who are worthy of one thing -- God's righteous wrath.  Therefore, we must run to Christ.  At the cross we will find sanctuary.  Then we will receive commendation from the Lord because He will see Christ's imputed righteousness in us.  We need this righteousness that comes from outside of us or else we are still dead in our sins.

What is your reason for boasting?  Is it in a team?  Is it in yourself and your talents or works?  Or is it in the finished work of Christ?  If you are in Him then He died to save you.  It has nothing to do with your merit, but we certainly can boast in what He did to defeat death, amen?

1 comment:

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