Humility and its Greatness
1 Peter 5:5-7
Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…

I. Let us examine THE SOURCE AND GROUND OF HUMILITY. This is drawn from the knowledge of God and from the relation in which we stand to Him. Hence, where the knowledge of God is absent, the exercise of humility becomes impossible. Humility begins with the knowledge of God, and advances to the knowledge of ourselves. Thus we see at our first step that it consists of something we gain, not of aught we lose. The humble man is rich in his humility, for he has gained that which the proud man has not. Pride is the instinct of ignorance. But we must take another step, and ask how it is that the knowledge of God, instead of puffing a man up with the conceit of an acquisition, only produces humility and the most prostrate lowliness of mind. It might be answered, because the knowledge itself is but a gift freely bestowed; it is a revelation, not a discovery, and therefore implies in itself the obligation of a receiver towards a donor. This is true, but a more complete reply is, that humility is produced by the impressiveness of the majesty and greatness of the Divine Being as revealed to us in His matchless perfections and infinite glory. This knowledge of the glory of God is not a work of nature but a gift of grace. This new knowledge becomes a test whereby we measure ourselves. We cannot help this self-application, since, in knowing God, we have gained a new idea altogether. And it is in the immense difference between what God is and what we are that Christian humility originates and grows. Then, when we read the inspired history of man, lowliness is increased. For there we are told not alone of the immortal spirit breathed into man, but of the Divine likeness in which we were first created, even in the image and similitude of God. And now, standing amid these wonders of revelation, with the wretched experience of ourselves as we are fresh and full upon us, there is not a truth which does not deepen our awe by the very wonderfulness of the realities to which we find ourselves related, and with which we stand in daily contact. For here is the wonder, that true humility grows out of self-respect. No man living has so high a conception of the dignity of human nature as the Christian.

II. From the source and nature of Christian humility let us consider ITS PRACTICAL OUTGOING. Here, again, we must take the side turned towards God first; otherwise we shall be out of order. What are the characteristic feelings and what the corresponding acts which a profound humility produces in our intercourse with God? In the first place, it produces an absorbing and unmeasured admiration. In speaking of so great a being as God, adoration may perhaps be the better word, so long as it is understood to be the adoration not of fear but of love — the adoration of desire, of grateful affection, and of fervent praise. And then, out of adoring praise to the redeeming God by whom we live, arises simple trusting faith in Him. From praise and trust combined there will arise also implicit obedience. For admiration and trust exalt to the highest degree the glory of the Being admired and trusted. Then how can God be wrong in any way? and if right, then every word of His must be kept as a seal of our acceptance. And now we shall see how these three sentiments of adoration, trust, and obedience necessarily affect our relation towards our fellow men. Gentle manners, gentle looks, gentle words ever considerate of other men's feelings, make the true Christian a natural gentleman, and invest him with an intuitive politeness which is but the outgoing of the Divine life within.

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

WEB: Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Humility a Preparation for Heaven
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