Here are five ways we can live with confidence but not arrogance.
Confident but not Presumptuous
We can have confidence in our Christian walk but confidence is not the same as being presumptuous or taking our salvation for granted. Some use this as a license to continue to sin, but that’s stepping out on thin ice. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2nd Cor 13:5)!
Boldness without Arrogance
After the Apostle’s Peter and John were thrown into prison for preaching Christ, they were commanded to not preach in His name anymore. What was their answer? Peter said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Act 4:19-20), and then they prayed, “now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness” (Acts 4:29), however boldness is not the same as arrogance.
Assurance and not Overconfidence
We can have assurance in our salvation but not overconfidence. It’s good to be confident, but there is a danger to being overconfident. The Apostle Paul warned that if “anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1st Cor 10:12). In other words, when we get to thinking, “At least I’m not as bad as that person,” we are in danger of falling. The Apostle Paul said we do not “classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2nd Cor 10:12). We compare ourselves to Christ and not others, and in this way, we do not (should not) be arrogant.
Confidence with Humility
Why do any of us deserve to be saved? I can’t think of any reason except for His love for us. Let us not forget that we “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph 2:3), so what changed this? It was “because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph 2:4-5). It was because of His love. Not because we were great. Paul asks us a very humbling question; “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1st Cor 4:7)? See my point? We didn’t even earn our own salvation (Eph 2:8-9). Humility doesn’t leave any room for arrogance.
Knowing the Word
Did you realize that the Bible tells us that we can know we are saved and not have to guess about it? The Apostle John wrote, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1st John 3:14). John says that “we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (1st John 4:13), so he wasn’t in a state of uncertainty. By the way, if you know the Word well enough, you know that God resists the proud and gives His grace only to the humble (James 4:6), but if a person knows the Word of God, they’ll know that truth that they can know that they are saved. That’s called confidence, which is not the same as arrogance.
It is okay to be confident, as long as you don’t grow presumptuous; it’s fine to have boldness, as long as you’re not arrogant; it’s a good thing to have assurance in your salvation, but as long as you (and I) remain humble; and the more you and I know the Word, the more confidence we’ll have…but don’t let that confidence become arrogance or be perceived as that.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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