WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 11, 2022
TOPIC: SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL TAKE ONE NOWHERE BUT HELLFIRE
BY T. O. BANSO
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’” (Luke 18:11-12 New King James Version).
There are two kinds of righteousness: self-righteousness and God’s righteousness. Self-righteousness is man’s righteousness, and it’s nothing before God. Isaiah 64:6a says, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (New King James Version).
If you want to be saved, self-righteousness won’t help you. You need the righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus. And the way to receive this is to be born again – accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10 New King James Version). Those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17b).
The Jews were guilty of self-righteousness. Romans 10:3-4 says, “For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (New King James Version). Paul said his heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Jews was that they might be saved (verse 1). He testified that they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Because of their ignorance of God’s righteousness, they sought to establish their own righteousness. That would never work. The right thing they should have done, as he said, was to submit to the righteousness of God.
The Pharisee in Luke 18 was also guilty of self-righteousness. He brandished or flaunted before God self-righteousness – righteousness by works. He believed that would impress God and convince Him to answer his prayer. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess’” (Luke 18:11-12 New King James Version).
Did you see his self-righteousness, which he was proud of but which, as you have read earlier in Isaiah 64:6a, was like an unclean thing, like filthy rags? This Pharisee believed that God owed him attention because of his religious activities. But he was wrong. God rejected him.
While we must live a holy life, fast, and do the like, they’re not the basis of our acceptance by God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (New King James Version). Jesus died to save us, not because of the works of righteousness we have done, but according to God’s mercy (Titus 3:5).
Unlike this Pharisee, the tax collector, whom he had mocked, simply stood at a distance. He did not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. He beat his chest in sorrow, acknowledged his sinfulness, and said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13b New King James Version). He returned home justified by God.
Don’t try to justify yourself before God like this Pharisee who trusted in himself that he was righteous and viewed the tax collector with contempt. In Luke 16:15, Jesus said this about the Pharisees: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (New King James Version).
The Pharisees didn’t acknowledge that they were blind. Therefore, Jesus didn’t have to open their eyes because He came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind (John 9:39).
You should also not be like the lawyer in Luke 10 whom the Bible says wanted to justify himself (verse 29). Proverbs 30:12 says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness” (New King James Version). Put on God’s righteousness, not self-righteousness. You may think you’re a good man or woman, but that’s not enough to save you from hellfire. You must accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. If you haven’t, surrender your life to him now. And after you’re saved, never promote your good works above grace – Jesus’ death on the cross.
Hear what Paul said about not having his own righteousness: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Philippians 3:7-10 New King James Version).
The righteousness which is from the law cannot save anyone because no one can keep all the laws by his power. That was why God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for the sins of the world. The nature of the law is that if you keep the whole law but stumble in one point, you are guilty of all. James 2:10-11 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (New King James Version).
Therefore, justifying oneself based on obeying the law is an exercise in futility. “Now do you see it? No one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what the law commands. For the more we know of God’s laws, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying them; his laws serve only to make us see that we are sinners” (Romans 3:20 The Living Bible).
Our salvation is through Jesus Christ, not the law. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4 New King James Version). We cannot be justified by the deeds of the law but through Jesus Christ. Romans 4:25 says He was delivered up because of our offences and was raised because of our justification. We are justified by His grace (Titus 3:7; Romans 3:24).
Self-righteousness will take one nowhere but hellfire. As 1 John 1:8-9 says, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Self-righteousness will only take one to hellfire. Submit to the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus by accepting Him as your Lord and Saviour and obeying His teachings. You have been saved by grace. Nevertheless, you cannot continue in sin that grace may abound (Romans 6:1-2). Therefore, walk in the newness of life as you depend on the Holy Spirit.
If you are not born again, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, thank You for saving me according to Your mercy. I shall not have my own righteousness and promote it above the work of Christ on the cross. I shall not trust in myself that I am righteous apart from Christ and view others with contempt. Father, deliver those who are ignorant of Your righteousness and seek to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to Your righteousness.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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