For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned (Rm. 12:3).
The foundation of humility is a right understanding of who we are in light of what God has given to us. As regards our salvation, we must recognize that we, like the rest of mankind, were once dead in our own transgressions and were by our choice enemies of God, but God, being rich in mercy toward us, has borne our transgressions in the person of Jesus Christ and has revealed himself to us by the Holy Spirit. We have no basis upon which to boast in our salvation, for our salvation was completely accomplished without us, and love and mercy were directed toward us even before the creation of the world (cf. Eph. 1:6). We did not choose God, but God chose us, so that in all things, especially in our salvation, he might receive glory and honor and that we might glorify him with humility.
This humility that we are to have extends beyond our salvation into our place in the body of Christ. For even among those who are God’s children through Jesus Christ, he assigns to each a measure of faith so that each of them might perform a different function within the body. The apostle Paul continues in Rm. 12:4 with the analogy that the church is like a human body, and each member in the church performs a particular function. And, as in the human body, some members perform seemingly more crucial roles than others. However, a member’s role within the body is not determined by his ambition or his hard work, but it is determined by God who assigns to each a different measure of faith in order that there might be diversity of function within the body.
Therefore, the apostle exhorts each one in the church at Rome, “Not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment.” This sober judgment, as said before, is founded in the knowledge that God is the giver of all things and we are the mere recipients of his good gifts by his good pleasure. To think otherwise, to think that we are somehow to be credited for our gifts by our hard work or by our good breeding, is, one, not to think reasonably about ourselves, and, two, to think of ourselves more highly that we ought. We must rather think of ourselves rightly and reasonably, in the shadow of the cross of Jesus Christ.
No more, my God, I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done;
I quit the hopes I held before,
To trust the merits of Thy Son.
Now, for the loss I bear His name,
What was my gain I count my loss;
My former pride I call my shame,
And nail my glory to His cross.
The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before Thy throne;
But faith can answer Thy demands,
By pleading what my Lord has done (Isaac Watts, “I Boast No More”)
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study