In the Old Testament book of Proverbs sin is often called folly or foolishness. Nowhere is this more clearly the case than where sinful pride is concerned. What utter folly to think (pretend really) you are better than others because you have received credit for something you didn’t do—like making yourself or giving yourself gifts and abilities that actually came from God.
Children taking credit for what their fathers have done is always sad and tawdry. God’s children in Christ Jesus will surely not want to slip into such things: acting as though they deserve God’s love or have earned Christ’s forgiveness or are better than others because of attitudes and actions which God the Father has worked in them through the good news of His Son.
Faith, forgiveness, the promise of eternal life, actions reflecting the love of Christ dwelling in us—these are all gifts of God—gifts purchased not by us but for us, purchased not with a credit card but with Christ’s cross.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a tribute far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
(The Lutheran Hymnal, 175)