Trusting In Your Own Righteousness

Trusting In Your Own Righteousness

In Luke 18:9 we read: "And to some who trusted in themselves as righteous, and despised others, he spoke also this parable..."

There is a righteousness of faith, which is a grace from God. And there is a righteousness which we can produce ourselves.

The way to find out which one you have is to ask yourself whether you are proud of your righteousness. If so, then you more then likely have produced it yourself. If you had the righteousness of God which was received as a gift of grace from Him, you would be thankful for it, but you could not be proud of it. Pharisees have a righteousness that they are proud of.

You can be proud in the sense of being delighted, and have deep satisfaction of the completed work you have done on a book that you wrote, but you cannot be proud of a book that someone else wrote. But if you are proud in the sense of arrogance, or for haughtiness, over some good quality you have in your life - whether your discipline in life, or generosity, or prayerfulness, or whatever it is, you must have produced it yourself. If you are generous and hospitable, and you are proud of it, then those qualities may be just human qualities, and not the divine nature, because if they were part of God's nature that He had given you freely, how could you boast about them? To be hospitable is a good virtue, but if you are proud of it, then your hospitality stinks before God. Properly understood, this “pride”, this delight, this deep satisfaction, represents an appreciation of objective qualities that exist outside the self.

This principle applies to other areas too. Maybe you can sing better than others, or play an instrument better, or preach better, or perhaps your Parish is larger than someone else's Parish. Anything that you are proud of in the sense of being arrogant, or haughty as the result of your own labor then it is a sin. If it was God's work, you could not boast about it.

Many boast about the sacrifices they have made for the Lord. That makes it obvious that they have not seen the immensity of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross for them. Can you see a single star when the sun is shining? No. When the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary becomes as bright as the sun in our minds, all our petty sacrifices will disappear like the stars in the daytime - and we won't even call them "sacrifices" any more. If you can remember all your sacrifices, then you must be in the darkness still - for it is only at night that we can see the stars!!

Come in faith and humility and receive the righteousness of God that He offers you through Christ - and give Him all the glory for it, all the days of your life. Then you will never be a Pharisee.