July 07, 2022 – Thursday
Romans 12:3 NIV
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Here is a thought we can all probably all get behind, It is hard to give advice without seeming to assume superiority; it is hard to take it, unless the giver identifies himself with the receiver, and shows that his counsel to others is a law for himself. That’s MacLaren’s Expositions introduction to his thoughts on the above verse. It puts me in mind of the saying, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” which is often attributed to C. S. Lewis but is actually from Rick Warren. Lewis wrote something similar, “A really humble man will not be thinking about humility, he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
Why would MacLaren begin with such a thought when considering our verse of the day? First and foremost, he believes Paul wants Roman Christians (and all Christians) to recognize God as the Giver of all capacities and graces, and leading to a faithful use for the general good of the ‘gifts differing according to the grace given to us.’ This makes sense as Paul begins with For by the grace given to me which could also be read as For by the favor given to me or For by the unmerited favor given to me, acknowledging it is all a gift from God. A gift that cannot be earned or as we quoted Ellicott yesterday, These two things,” grace” and “works,” really exclude each other. We know this because there are no works to earn salvation. There is only grace, God’s unmerited favor, His mercy for one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Grace cannot be earned, it can only be granted.
In verse 6a Paul shows he is no different in this respect when he writes, We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. From this we might look back at verse three where Paul writes, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment. If we do so earnestly, we can avoid being prideful about the gifts we are given. MacLaren put it this way, To arrive at a just estimate of ourselves the estimate must ever be accompanied with a distinct consciousness that all is God’s gift. That will keep us from anything in the nature of pride or over-weening self-importance. Maybe you have trained and funded hundreds of missionaries to share the good news of Jesus. But do you claim this as part of your resume, among a list of your accomplishments? Careful, you may be headed into an area of self-importance, not a place we would want to go.
How do we think of ourselves with sober judgment? Paul says we do it, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Certainly, we should not do it as the world does where, The prevailing habit of judging among them was according to rank, or wealth, or eloquence, or function. While this habit of judging prevailed in the world around them, there was danger that it might also prevail in the church – Barnes’ Notes on the Bible. Barnes later wrote, People commonly regard the objects on which they pride themselves as things of their own creation, or as depending on themselves. But let an object be regarded as the gift of God, and it ceases to excite pride, and the feeling is at once changed into gratitude. He, therefore, who regards God as the source of all blessings, and he only, will be a humble man. All of our accomplishments come from God, let us always acknowledge Him as the source of all that we accomplish.
Bottom Line: Give God the credit for everything good that we are able to do. Everything, taking credit for none.
Prayer: Almighty God, You bless us with the underserved gift of salvation along with many gifts and abilities. Thank you for everything. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton