Have been preaching through the content of my forthcoming book, Gospel-Powered Humility published by P&R, and to be available in Sept 2011. You can access these talks here.
Humility is a crucial subject, and nothing is harder to preach about, especially when you clearly feel the smarting evidence of your own personal pride.
Paul understood his own pride with great clarity. He also understood the arrogance of those to who God sent him. That is why he preached a humbling gospel. In Romans 1:16-3:26 Paul gives us a clear picture of how he presented the Good News. His gospel presentation contains 1200 words explaining the bad news, but only 188 words explaining the Good News. Why? We are proud, and our pride hardens us to our tremendous spiritual need. Paul knows that he needs to carefully humble his hearers with an clear exposition of spiritual reality. Only then will we be thirsty for the refreshing water of the gospel.
In the words of Martin Luther, “The gospel tastes best to those who lie in the straits of death, or whom an evil conscience oppresses. For in that case hunger is a good cook as we say, one who makes the food taste good. For when they feel their misery, the heart and conscience can hear nothing more soothing than the gospel; for this they long, on this they are eager to feed, nor can they get too much of it.... But that hardened class who live in their own holiness, build on their own works, and feel not their sin and misery do not taste this food. Whoever sits at a table and is hungry relishes all, however, he who is sated relishes nothing but is filled with loathing at the most excellent food."[i]
As always your thoughts would be appreciated.
[i] Ewald M. Plass, editor, What Luther Says, An Anthology, Vol. 2, (St. Louis: Concordia, 1986) pg 563