C.S. Lewis once called pride, “The Great Sin” in his book Mere Christianity. Why? Because it’s pride that builds walls between us and God, and also builds walls between us and others.
We see the former right at the beginning of world in the garden of Eden. It was the pride of wanting to be like God that tempted Eve and caused her to fall. It was pride that apparently caused the fall of Satan as well.
And here in this passage, we see the pride that was tearing apart the Corinthian church, and putting a wall between Paul himself and the Corinthian believers.
From verses 4-13, and also 18-19, it appears that a number of the Corinthians were looking down on Paul. That through their pride of what they had and what they knew, and because of their self-satisfaction in life, they looked at Paul in all his weakness and suffering as if he were somehow inferior to them.
But Paul tells them,
“Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. (2:6)
What does he mean, “Do not go beyond what is written?”
It’s not clear, but I think he’s referring to what we’ve been taught concerning our position in Christ. Namely, that we are saved, not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but because of his grace. And if we remember we are all products of his grace, there is no reason to take pride in ourselves over others. Or to argue that this person is greater than that person.
Paul makes this clear, reminding the Corinthians,
Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (7)
The answers: “God,” “nothing,” and, “for no good reason.”
Those are pretty humbling answers.
But so often we don’t think that way, slamming down walls between us and God, as well as with those around us.
Would that we were all fully cognizant of the true meaning of God’s grace in our lives. How much better would our relationships be with God, with our spouses, with our fellow church members, and with all whom we associate with?
How about you? What walls are in your life because of your pride?