Self-Righteousness and the Cross of Christ
While studying the great book of Job, I came across a particular header that I found to be extremely interesting—“The Cross of Christ, The Only Answer to Self-Righteousness.” I think I can say without fear of any repercussion that the majority of Christendom is guilty of self-righteousness. I can even go a little further and say that at some point in time, all Christians have been guilty of exhibiting some form of self-righteousness. It pains me to even admit this because the truth does hurt. Looking back at my own life, there have been times when I exhibited this type of attitude over others. I thought that what I was doing was somehow better than what others were doing, or I thought of how I did not entertain some activities while others did. Because of that, I thought that it made me better than the others. That is what self-righteousness is all about—doing something or not doing something that makes you better than someone else. To sum it up, self-righteousness concludes itself to be right with God while others are not because of circumstances.
WHAT DO WE SEE WHEN WE LOOK AT OURSELVES?
Honestly, most Christians cannot see themselves for what they really are because of their self-righteous attitudes toward others. They (and we’ve all been there) believe that they don’t need help, but others around them do. However, if they could truly see themselves for what they are, would they be proud of what they see, or would they abhor what they see? My stance on this issue is for them to truly see themselves for what they are, they first have to properly see the Cross. Once they properly see the Cross, they will properly see the Lord. As a result, they will properly see themselves for what they really are—poor, pitiful, and pathetic. Let’s say it a little differently: The only answer to self-righteousness is the Cross of Christ, for the Cross helps us see ourselves for what we really are, which will prove to be distasteful. When we truly see ourselves, we will see a person who is full of arrogance, pride, self-will, and a holier-than-thou attitude, which does not make for a pretty picture. However, when we properly see the Cross, which means we will properly see the Lord, we will get an idea of what we see when we look into the mirror, spiritually speaking.
WHAT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS?
We have to understand that when we refer to righteousness, we are meaning that which is right. That is the true definition of what righteousness is. However, we must be clear that when we refer to righteousness, it is that which is right in the eyes of God, and not that which is right in the eyes of man. Since the beginning of time, man has tried to commandeer authority over the Word of God by trying to insert what he believes to be right. Man has always tried to push his agenda and what he feels to be right and ignore what God says is right. God’s way has always been the way of the sacrifice, but man says there are better ways. God says that Christ is the way of salvation, but man says that all roads lead to the same God. God says the Bible has the answer to every one of life’s questions and can address itself to all of man’s problems, whereas man says that the Bible is not relevant for today. Righteousness is what God says is right and not what man says is right.
SELF AND THE CROSS
Self is the greatest hindrance to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The reason is that self says it knows better than the Holy Spirit and knows better than God. We have to crucify all of our goodness along with all of our badness for the sole purpose of being made into the image of God. This is not done easily, and neither is it done quickly. This is a daily battle. It is a daily process where the Holy Spirit desires to make us into what He wants us to be. How does He do that? He can do it as long as we continually look to Christ and Him crucified, which gives Him the legal right to perform that which is needed in our lives. Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 2, tells us that the work of the Cross gives the Holy Spirit the ability to free us daily from dependence on self. When we understand that the Holy Spirit works through the Cross, and He will work in no other way, then we begin to see how important this really is. Self only has one place in the work of God—hidden in Christ. This can be done as we place our faith in Christ and the Cross.
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