Humble yourself

The Shepherd's Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
There are multiple verses stating to humble yourself (1peter 5:6) etc. I have come across arminians who claim you can humble yourself without God.

They then state humility is why one chooses God over another. I have learned this seems to be their best attempt against the imfamous question: why does one person have faith, and another does not, given they both heard the gospel?

Any ideas how to refute this? How does one prove humility comes from God?

God bless
 

Alexander Suarez

Puritan Board Freshman
I happened to be doing a study on humility and thought you might benefit from the following brief selection from Wilhelmus à Brakel:

Humility is the humble disposition of the heart of the believer—both in a personal sense and toward his neighbor. It consists in having a correct judgment concerning himself whereby he neither elevates himself above his condition, nor wishes to be elevated by others as such.

. . .

True humility is only to be found in a Christian, that is, in a believer. All humility of the unconverted is nothing but an appearance without substance, and upon close examination it will prove to be either nothing but pride or else despondency—the reason being that an unconverted person has neither life, spiritual disposition of heart, nor is he united to Christ from whom, as the Head, all virtues issue forth to His children. However, a regenerate person has the principle of life in Christ and thus also a virtuous heart—the fountain of virtues. “Let the brother of low degree rejoice” (James 1:9). It is the Lord who teaches humility and Christ is the example: “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt 11:29). Therefore, those who have fellowship with the Lord Jesus, know Him and behold Him, and in faith are united with Him, will learn this from Him and their humility is of the same nature as His.

. . .

The measure in which this disposition is pervasive and steadfast is commensurate with the measure of a person‟s exercise to be in such a disposition. This propensity, initially having been infused by God, is fortified through much exercise.

. . .

God is the moving cause of humility. By nature man is a creature who aspires after glory, is proud and conceited, and has high thoughts of himself. He is motivated by self, is focused on self, and is desirous that everyone‟s end would be to esteem, honor, fear, serve, and obey him. The heart the Lord gives to His people is different, however, for He causes Christ to be formed in them, so that, also in humility, they resemble Christ.

(The Christian's Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout, 4:67-70)​
 

The Shepherd's Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
I happened to be doing a study on humility and thought you might benefit from the following brief selection from Wilhelmus à Brakel:



(The Christian's Reasonable Service, trans. Bartel Elshout, 4:67-70)​
Thank you for this response! Judging by that response one must be saved to be truly humble. What would you say about king Ahab? Would you say he was saved since he humbled himself before the Lord?

1 Kings 21:27-29
[27] And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. [28] And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, [29] “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”
 

Alexander Suarez

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for this response! Judging by that response one must be saved to be truly humble. What would you say about king Ahab? Would you say he was saved since he humbled himself before the Lord?

1 Kings 21:27-29
[27] And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. [28] And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, [29] “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.”

First, I would say, words are used equivocally in Scripture and don't always mean the same thing in every context (e.g., Deut. 8:3; 21:14; 2 Chron. 33:12; Ps. 9:12; 35:13; Is. 2:11; Jer. 13:18; etc.).

Secondly, sometimes the external matter of personal actions are the focus of a passage. Other times, the external gives way to the internal (or the motive and end of an action). In other places, the manner of such an action takes center stage. In addition, the surrounding circumstances of actions are taken into consideration as well.

Thirdly, in relation to the passage itself, I think a decent commentary might help. Here is Matthew Henry:

Ahab was a kind of penitent. The message Elijah delivered to him in God's name put him into a fright for the present, so that he rent his clothes and put on sackcloth,1 Kings 21:27; 1 Kings 21:27. He was still a proud hardened sinner, and yet thus reduced. Note, God can make the stoutest heart to tremble and the proudest to humble itself. His word is quick and powerful, and is, when the pleases to make it so, like a fire and a hammer, Jeremiah 23:29. It made Felix tremble. Ahab put on the garb and guise of a penitent, and yet his heart was unhumbled and unchanged. After this, we find, he hated a faithful prophet, 1 Kings 22:8; 1 Kings 22:8. Note, It is no new thing to find the show and profession of repentance where yet the truth and substance of it are wanting. Ahab's repentance was only what might be seen of men: Seest thou (says God to Elijah) how Ahab humbles himself; it was external only, the garments rent, but not the heart. A hypocrite may go very far in the outward performance of holy duties and yet come short. 2. He obtained hereby a reprieve, which I may call a kind of pardon. Though it was but an outside repentance (lamenting the judgment only, and not the sin), though he did not leave his idols, nor restore the vineyard to Naboth's heirs, yet, because he did hereby give some glory to God, God took notice of it, and bade Elijah take notice of it: Seest thou how Ahab humbles himself?1 Kings 21:29; 1 Kings 21:29. In consideration of this the threatened ruin of his house, which had not been fixed to any time, should be adjourned to his son's days. The sentence should not be revoked, but the execution suspended. Now, (1.) This discovers the great goodness of God, and his readiness to show mercy, which here rejoices against judgment. Favour was shown to this wicked man that God might magnify his goodness (says bishop Sanderson) even to the hazard of his other divine perfections; as if (says he) God would be thought unholy, or untrue, or unjust (though he be none of these), or any thing, rather than unmerciful. (2.) This teaches us to take notice of that which is good even in those who are not so good as they should be: let it be commended as far as it goes. (3.) This gives a reason why wicked people sometimes prosper long; God is rewarding their external services with external mercies. (4.) This encourages all those that truly repent and unfeignedly believe the holy gospel. If a pretending partial penitent shall go to his house reprieved, doubtless a sincere penitent shall go to his house justified.
 

The Shepherd's Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
First, I would say, words are used equivocally in Scripture and don't always mean the same thing in every context (e.g., Deut. 8:3; 21:14; 2 Chron. 33:12; Ps. 9:12; 35:13; Is. 2:11; Jer. 13:18; etc.).

Secondly, sometimes the external matter of personal actions are the focus of a passage. Other times, the external gives way to the internal (or the motive and end of an action). In other places, the manner of such an action takes center stage. In addition, the surrounding circumstances of actions are taken into consideration as well.

Thirdly, in relation to the passage itself, I think a decent commentary might help. Here is Matthew Henry:
Much appreciated!

God bless
 
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