No one really likes a braggadocios person. While we can appreciate the abilities of others we’d rather not hear them boast of them. The way Mohamed Ali danced around the boxing ring exhibiting great skill was a thing of beauty. His record as a boxing champion speaks for itself, but many were turned off by his very well known declaration, “I am the greatest of all time!”
On a fundamental level, no one has any reason to boast about anything. While Ali worked hard to be a great boxer, he was gifted by God with health, strength, and natural ability without which a successful boxing career would have been impossible. What made Ali better than all the others were ultimately the gifts God had given him. Using a series of questions, the apostle Paul indicated this general principle in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 4:7, “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?” This concept is especially true of salvation. We cannot earn salivation nor could we ever deserve to be saved from our sins and have eternal life. Eternal life is the gift of God that we simply receive by faith in Christ (Rom.6:23), and so we must never boast as if we did not receive it as a gift from God’s gracious hand. Ephesians 2:8-9 is pretty clear, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Our only boast must be in Christ and what He accomplished for us in His death and resurrection. In fact Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14, “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” No religious accomplishments or good works could ever earn for us eternal life. Eternal life is a gift provided by Christ though the cross on which He died for our sins!