You which rejoice in a thing of nothing, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?
The Christian life is something more than what we call a moral life. The mere moral life is one which begins to be and grows simply by voluntary, conscious, self-originating deeds and choices. It is "self righteousness" in Paul's sense of the word. The Christian life no less has conscious choices, but something more is builded into it, something spiritual and real out of God. Here is an illustration. Plant a grain of wheat in a wet sponge kept moist by a bowl of water. It will grow and grow rapidly, fed on itself and water, but directly its tall stem leans, limp and weak, to break at last., and wither and die before it bears fruit. It was self-nourished; its growth was out of itself. Now plant another like grain of wheat in the earth. It grows, not so quickly; but it is having builded into it lime and phosphorus and iron out of the earth, and its tall stein bends at last also, but with the weight of " the full corn in the ear," the fruit of its union with the strength of the earth. So the Christian life and growth are the strength of God, builded by Him into the character. It is the spiritual element, thus wrought into our life by the higher Nourisher of our souls, which gives us character and moral strength; and that process, though unconscious, is a real happening.
(S. B. Meeser.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?