When there is not genuine repentance, people will try to do the work of God though the strength of the flesh. The flesh nature just continues doing inside the church what is always did in the world. Instead of striving to make it to the top in the world, it strives to make it to the top in a religious structure.
Men who attempt to come to Jesus and still love the flesh nature will still have selfish ambition. They will try to have the biggest church, the largest and best choir, the greatest numbers, and the best reputation for building a church. (All done for God, or course!) Instead of obedience to the Word of God and holiness, their goal is “nickels, noses, and numbers” to fulfill their selfish ambition. They say, “Come see my church!”
Religious towers are being built today by people who are seeking to make a name for themselves, just as the people did when they built the Tower of Babel. They are almost never away that they are being motivated by pride and greed—the works of the flesh.
Pride, which is a perverted self-love, never makes a name for Jesus. A proud man becomes more proud, because he helps God out in the strength and works of his flesh. He believes that religious activity is godliness. People who have fallen away are totally unaware of this deception. Loving pride and greed is the very opposite of the purpose of Christ who said, “This is My commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). To continue to love pride and greed is to continue to love the nature and character of Satan.
Pride and greed were the idols in the hearts of the false teachers in 2 Peter 2. If a person loves pride and greed, he will compromise the Word of God, and he will exploit his neighbor/(mine) congregation to fulfill his love for pride and greed. His heart will seek to build a self-image and reputation more than the image of Christ. The motive in his heart is selfishness instead of love, because he has never truly repented and turned away from the sinful flesh nature. His prideful and greedy flesh has simply become religious, and it now seeks to share the glory with God. We are supposed to repent and turn from pride and greed when we come to follow Jesus.-Milton Green