The ability to stand before God without fear, inferiority or shame takes us to a whole new level of relationship with God. There’s no more running or hiding in shame because of our sins. Jesus took all of our sin into Himself on the Cross. When He died, we died with Him. When He was raised to new life, so were we. We are righteous because of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
However, just like he did in the Garden of Eden, the devil will try to distort and counterfeit this gift. The devil is not like God, which means he can’t create anything, so, he will try to make us believe lies instead of God’s Word. He lies to us telling us that we can earn our righteousness. He wants us to believe that we don’t need the finished work of Christ for our righteousness because of our continued works of the flesh.
This is what it means to live by the Law, which is impossible for anyone to do perfectly. (Galatians 3:10).
A good idea is to go through the New Testament and the scriptures that speak of our righteousness in Christ, we should mark out “Christ” and write our own name; because we believe our righteousness comes from ourselves. Of course I’m being facetious, but this is what we do in our hearts when we believe that we have earned our own right standing with God.
When we’re self-righteous we’ll believe that God owes us His blessing based on our good works. We’ll think that when we tithe God should hold up His end of the bargain and give us our 100 fold harvest. We’ll expect immediate healing from all of our sicknesses, not based on Christ, but based on our impeccable church attendance. We won’t receive anything we expect from God like this because our faith is not in Christ, it’s in ourselves.
The truth about self-righteousness is plainly stated in Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Our righteousness only adds up to filthy rags in the end.
That’s why when we stray into the pride and arrogance of self-righteousness, we always end up feeling empty. We separate ourselves from the work of Christ and become lost in our own works, and we see the truth of John 15:5b “…for without Me you can do nothing.”
This is one of the worst things about being self-righteous; we are without Jesus. Our relationship with Him turns into a business deal. We did something and now He owes us. Jesus Christ didn’t die on the Cross to be our business partner. He did it to save us and give us an intimate and powerful relationship with Him.
It’s infinitely better for our righteousness to be in Christ instead of in us, because it allows us to rest in His finished work. We don’t have to constantly toil trying to stack up enough good works to stay under the grace of God, all the while worrying that He’s going to kick us out of His family. The work was finished on the Cross. Let’s not let the devil trick us out of one of God’s greatest gifts.