“He who glories, let him glory in the Lord”
(1 Corinthians 1:31).

What does it mean to glory in something?

One rejoices with pride about something. This can be either good or bad. In a negative sense the same word is translated as “to boast”. Rather than being proud about something we have done, we ought to glory in what God has done.

Man has no reason to boast before God: “No flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29). To support this, Paul quotes from Jeremiah:
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:23, 24).

Bragging is sin.

Boasting is a form of dishonesty. One praises himself for something God has done and for which God deserves the glory. Intelligence, power and wealth are gifts from God. “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). God’s gifts are reason for humble gratitude, not for boasting.

We may not glory in worldly wisdom.

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men” (1 Corinthians 3:18-21).

Rather than glorying in the ever-shifting wisdom of this world we should seek wisdom from above, wisdom from God, the wisdom of lovingkindness, justice and righteousness. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Glorying in worldly wisdom can hinder us from being saved. “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

We may not glory in worldly power.

Whatever power anyone has, is granted by God. When Pilate said to Jesus: “Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus replied, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10, 11).

Our lives are in God’s hands. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (James 4:13-16).

We may not glory in worldly wealth.

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:16-21). “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

“Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits” (James 1:9-11).

We glory in God’s salvation.

Paul wrote: “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).

Salvation by grace excludes boasting. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Salvation comes to us in Christ through baptism: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27).

Baptism, “the washing of regeneration,” is itself a gift of God’s grace, not a work of righteousness: “When the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

By the glory of the Father, we rise to walk in newness of life from baptism: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3, 4).

What have we learned?

“He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31). Man has no reason to boast before God. Bragging is sin. We may not glory in worldly wisdom, worldly power or worldly wealth because all that we have is a gift from God. We boast only in God’s salvation by grace. As Christians, we can say with Paul: “I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God” (Romans 15:17). Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

Song segment from
"How deep the Father's love"
by Stuart Townend.
(c)1995 by Kingsway's Thankyou Music.
Sung by the McCoy Family Singers.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.