Distinguishing Grace
1 Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you to differ from another? and what have you that you did not receive? now if you did receive it, why do you glory…

Pride is the inherent sin of man, and yet it is of all sins the most foolish. A thousand arguments might be used to show its absurdity; but none of these would be sufficient to quench its vitality. Take for instance the argument of creation. We are the thing formed; shall we say of ourselves that we deserve honour because God hath formed us wondrously? What are we, after all, but as grasshoppers in God's sight? But surely if this prevail not to clip the pinions of our pride, the Christian man may at least bind its wings with arguments derived from the distinguishing love and peculiar mercies of God. Observe —


1. Many of us differ from others in God's providential dealings towards us. Many of God's beloved children are in the depths of poverty, while some of us who are here have all that heart can wish. Let us gratefully ask, "Who maketh us to differ?" Perhaps none of us can ever know, until the great day shall reveal it, how much some of God's servants are tried, and if God hath made our path more pleasant, it is owing only to His grace, and we will not be high-minded, but condescend to men of low estate. The more God has given us the more we are in debt. Why should a man boast because he is deeper in debt than another? But the best way for you to feel this is to go into the hospital; then go round the neighbourhood to the sick who have lain for years upon the same bed, and after that go and visit some of God's poverty-stricken children.

2. Many differ in regard to God's gracious dealings.

(1) Ask yourself, Why am I not at this very hour hearing the Word with my outward ear, but rejecting it in my inward heart? Have I made myself to differ? God forbid that such a proud thought should defile our hearts. The only reason is because He hath made thee to differ. Who are more hardened than those to whom we have alluded?

(2) There are some of whose salvation, if it were to be wrought by man, we must indeed utterly despair for their hearts are harder than the most stubborn steel. How is it that my heart is melted, my conscience is tender, and that I know how to pray and to groan before God on account of sin?

(3) But the lowest class of sinners do not mingle with our congregations, but are to be seen in our streets and lanes. How frightful are the sins of drunkenness, of blasphemy, of lasciviousness! "Who maketh thee to differ?" Some of you have experienced redemption from these very iniquities.

(4) How is it that the minister has not forsaken his profession? How is it that the deacons have not turned aside unto crooked ways? How is it that so many members of this Church have been kept so that the wicked one toucheth them not? Let Abraham be deserted by God, he equivocates and denies his wife. Let Noah be deserted, he becomes a drunkard. Let David be left, and Uriah's wife shall soon show the world that the man after God's own heart hath still an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. Then give all glory to the only wise God your Saviour who has kept you thus.

(5) Since you and I have joined the Church how many who were once our companions have been damned whilst we have been saved? Oh, why is it you are not already a fiend; who is it that has given you a good hope through grace?

II. NOW WHAT SHALL WE SAY TO THESE THINGS? If God has made you to differ —

1. You should pray, "Lord, humble us. Take away pride out of us. O God, forgive us, that we should ever be proud."

2. Why may He not make others to differ toot "After the Lord saved me," said one, "I never despaired of anybody." Will you ever give up praying for anybody now that you are saved? Let me serve Him more than others. "What do ye more than others?"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

WEB: For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn't receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

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