Why is arrogance so condemned by God?-Part 2


In the first part of this Q&A, we started our review about why God continually condemns arrogance.  We mentioned that the words arrogance, arrogant, proud, and haughty are mentioned over 200 times in the New International Version, and that they are all interconnected in their meaning.   God resists the proud, as we read in 1 Peter 5:5: “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’”

In the Book of Psalms are found many references to those traits that God does not approve of.   Psalm 5:5 reads: “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.”   Boastful, that is self-praising, boasting and bragging, exhibiting self-importance, reflects arrogance that God totally disapproves of; therefore, His people should steer clear of any such behaviour.   This is further supported by Psalm 75:4: “I said to the boastful, ‘Do not deal boastfully,’ And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn.’”

Further such injunctions are found in Psalm 94:4: “They utter speech, and speak insolent things; All the workers of iniquity boast in themselves.”   Also, Psalm 119:21 reads: “You rebuke the proud—the cursed, Who stray from Your commandments.”

Being arrogant, proud, boastful and haughty are traits, that, if not repented of, will ensure that we will not be in the Kingdom of God as God hates these characteristics.   The world and its ways can rub off, even on the people of God, so we had better be very careful about the way we live our lives and ensure that we are not guilty in such matters.

Of course, some even accuse true Christians of arrogance. One such accusation on a forum stated that “Religions in many ways are indistinguishable from fascism, where one’s value comes not from oneself, but from your status as part of something much greater. As such, it encourages and rewards extreme arrogance: nothing so deadly as a righteous man.”

Maybe that could apply in some cases, and we all have to be careful that, because God has called us out of this world, we don’t have such a mindset.  If we are one of God’s people who follow His instructions on how to live His Way of Life, that accusation could not be made against us as we would be guilty of doing that of which God disapproves and would disqualify us as one of God’s people anyway.

Further criticism against God is that He was arrogant when He spoke to Job, as we read in Job 38:4: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,” and in the rest of the chapter, God “revealed His Omnipotence to Job,” as the chapter heading in some Bibles reads.

Barnes Notes on the Bible observes: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? – The first appeal is to the creation. The question here, ‘Where wast thou?’ implies that Job was not present. He had not then an existence. He could not, therefore, have aided God, or counselled him, or understood what he was doing. How presumptuous, therefore, it was in one so short-lived to sit in judgment on the doings of him who had formed the world!”

The allegation that God was arrogant is made null and void when we see the context and know that God is love which is the very antithesis of arrogance (compare 1 John 4:8,16).

Another criticism is that Christians believe that theirs is the only true religion.   What about all of the other faiths – aren’t they equally important?   And isn’t it arrogant for Christians to believe that they are the only ones with the truth?   It is interesting that since the dawn of civilization, man has gravitated towards pagan gods of stone and there are many instances of this.   One such is the example of Solomon as we read in 1 Kings 11:4-8: “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.  And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”

Even Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (except for Jesus Christ), resorted to idol worship, and it can be guaranteed that the master of deception, Satan the devil was at the heart of such behaviour.   After all, he is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Authorized Version) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2).

We further read in Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,” which clearly tells us that all the other religions in this world are false.   Is it arrogance to believe that?   It is, surely, just a matter of believing what the great Creator of the Bible states in His Word, which can never be construed as arrogance.

Having arrogance is a deeply unlovely trait, and when we hear someone displaying this characteristic, it can, and it must be, something that reinforces our belief that in no way must we behave in such a manner.

It should be obvious to readers of the Bible that God approves of behaviour that is in line with what He is – God is love as was mentioned before.  We read in 1 John 4:7-8: “ Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born (begotten) of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

God the Father Who created us all is perfect.  The second member of the God Family, the Logos or Word and Who became Jesus Christ, is also perfect.   As perfect beings, they make no errors or mistakes and are the epitome of love as the above Scripture reveals.   We can be the same through the power of the Holy Spirit which we are given after repentance and baptism.   We read in John 1:12: “ But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

We have taken the long route to answer the question thoroughly, although there may be those who think that this is not necessary for the people of God.   However, because we have the knowledge of God’s Way which most people discard or ignore today, there could be a tendency, if we’re not careful, that this might give us a superior feeling or arrogance which would be dangerous.   We must not forget that the religious people in Jesus’ time did make considerable mistakes in this area.   We read in the first part of this two-part series, in Luke 18:9-14, the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector where superiority and arrogance were shown by the outwardly religious man but who seemed to feel superior to everyone else.

Wherever self is mentioned, we had better be very careful, but one area that is vitally important is that of self-assessment.   In 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, we are instructed as follows: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”  In verses 23 to 26 of the same chapter is the institution of the New Testament Passover and the necessity to examine ourselves before taking it.   In 2 Corinthians 13:5 is a further instruction to examine ourselves: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” Therefore, this self-assessment or investigation is a vital and necessary part of our Christian lives.

Apart from this pre-Passover requirement (which should be ongoing throughout the year) is the requirement of fasting on the Day of Atonement.  We read the following in our booklet “The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days”: “Leviticus 23:27 gives the following command on the Day of Atonement: ‘… It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls….’   The Hebrew word for ‘afflict’ is ‘anah.’ It means, literally, ‘to lower’ or ‘to humble.’  Deuteronomy 8:3 sheds more light on the meaning of the Hebrew word, ‘anah.’ We read: ‘He humbled [‘anah’] you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna…’ We should note here the connection between being humbled and abstaining from food. Psalm 35:13 adds: ‘I humbled [‘anah’] myself with fasting.’”

Humbling oneself is the opposite of arrogance.  When fasting, arrogance is usually a trait that can disappear quite quickly, if it was there in the first place.   It is difficult to demonstrate an attitude of arrogance and superiority when you are being deprived of one of the basics of life – food. 

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we read about a time of stress during the last days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,  traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

We have been warned!  The arrogance and haughtiness displayed by those outside the Church are traits that we must dismiss and not let any of this sort of behaviour rub off on us.   Love cannot exist where arrogance prevails as the two are completely incompatible.

Because continually exhibiting arrogance as a Way of Life is not the way that will lead to eternal life in the Kingdom of God. We all need to ensure that such a trait is one that we cannot be accused of.   If we have problems in this area, it is imperative to remove them as soon as possible; otherwise, we could fall short of what is required by God.

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)

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