(4) "Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith. (5) "Indeed, because he transgresses by wine,
He is a proud man,
And he does not stay at home.
Because he enlarges his desire as hell,
And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied,
He gathers to himself all nations
And heaps up for himself all peoples.
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If we look at this in reverse, is it not saying that the proud are going to die? But the just will live by faith. Indeed, the just are humble. The contrast goes unstated, but it is nonetheless there, between the just person and the proud person. The just person submits to God by faith.
This is written in a way that indicates that the proud cannot live by faith. A proud person will live by his desires rather than in faith, humbly submitting to God. His desire is not to submit to God. Why? Because the spiritual qualities that the spirit in man can generate are essentially confined to the things of men: sight, sound, touch, hearing, and smelling—and being "tuned in" to demonic influences (Ephesians 2:2). Man's spirit is earthly; it has fleshly conceptions that never quite grasp the right, that is, godly concept. With all of his intelligence, man never quite puts the Word of God together correctly. He always misses it, and the miss may be as good as a mile. His relationship with God never quite has the proper footing. The proud meet with God more or less as equals, which is not a right basis.
Paul writes in Romans 7:18, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells." How can godly faith be generated from something in which is nothing good? How can godly righteousness come from something that has no good in it? How can anything that is godly—that leads to salvation and can be taken through the resurrection into the Kingdom of God—come from a spirit that is not holy?
What do we have that we have not received (I Corinthians 4:7)? What, then, do we have to be proud about? In the humble person is a proper recognition and acceptance of the fact that he is totally dependent on God for everything that can be taken through the resurrection. Does not Jesussay in John 15:5, "For without Me you can do nothing"?
The things of the Spirit of God are concerned with unseen things—things the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands cannot sense. They are heavenly things, spiritual things. We look for a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). Our faith is in promises that have not yet materialized. Faith in these promises can make great demands on us, ones that we would never submit to or ever meet but for the gifts of God's Spirit. God's Spirit gives direction to our lives, motivating us to live by standards that we would never otherwise live by.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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