The sin that God hates most is the one that comes most naturally to us. It’s not something we learn—it’s a base instinct built into our fallen nature: human pride.
When God ranks the most egregious sins, pride sits atop that list (Proverbs 6:16–17). John MacArthur explains why in his sermon “The Greatness of Being a Slave.”
This is the defining sin of humanity—pride. All other sins feed pride. All temptations, all solicitations to do evil of any kind and every kind, are based upon self-gratification. The reason a temptation is a temptation is because you want to do it, and it appeals then to your personal fulfillment, your personal satisfaction, your personal desire, and therefore the right you have to do what you want—which is an expression of your own pride and self-love.
That is why at the list of sins, when it says in the Old Testament there are six things, yea seven, that God hates, the first one is a proud heart because pride is the underlying sin that leads to all other sins.
Worse still, our narcissistic culture has enshrined the sin of pride as a noble virtue. Humility has fallen out of vogue and has been usurped by self-esteem.
As Christians we may not exalt pride, but we still wrestle with it. In fact, the prideful ambitions of Christ’s disciples were constantly simmering beneath the surface. “The Greatness of Being a Slave” considers one of those occasions where Jesus had to deal with this pride directly in Mark 10:35–45.
That passage paints a vivid dichotomy between the exercise of worldly authority and the ministry of Christlike servanthood. While worldly powers “lord it over” their subjects, Christ has called us to emulate His humility through serving others: “Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all” (Mark 10:44).
Today, the term slavery carries a negative connotation. That cultural aversion is understandable, since it has become an umbrella term for human trafficking, ownership, and oppression. But we need to comprehend slavery within its biblical parameters, because the concept is central to understanding Christ’s mission and the Christian life. We need to grasp what Jesus meant when He used the phrase “slave of all.” And John MacArthur’s message brings that to light as he explains what it means to live a life of servanthood as a slave of Jesus Christ.
Click here to watch or listen to “The Greatness of Being a Slave.”