Rescued from Self-Righteousness

Grace For The Journey



Self-righteousness is an inner feeling that springs forth from the wicked well of moral superiority.  By nature, as children of Adam, we all drink from this well daily.  We are like the Pharisee described in Luke’s gospel (Luke 18) who thanked God that he was “not like other men” who (he imagined) were far less noble than he.

So if we are all afflicted by this scourge by nature,

How will we ever be rescued from it?

The answer is found in clearly seeing the picture the Bible paints of who we truly are: The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of estcape that you may be able to bear it.”  My Greek professor in seminary – Dr. Curtis Vaughn, unpacked a more literal reading of this verse, explaining that the phrase “what is common to man” is translated from a single Greek word: anthropinos (“man-like”).

The deepest meaning of this verse goes far beyond acknowledging that we are all tempted in ways common to everyone.

It actually reveals the awful truth

That the seeds of the most sinful man

Are planted deep within the hearts of every man.

In other words, the seeds of the worst sins, sins committed by the most depraved people, are in all of us.

When this truth seizes us,

We are on the road of being

Rescued from self-righteousness.

What sin is beyond your reach?  When we see sin in others that we believe we could never commit, we become their judge, and self-righteousness drives its roots deeper into the soil of our sinful hearts.

After trusting in Christ as my personal Savior and Lord, I had difficulty accepting the Scriptural assessment of King David as being a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). You will recall that David was the guy who should have been on the battlefield leading his troops; instead, he was in bed with another man’s wife.  And if that wasn’t wicked enough, he tried to cover up his sin by arranging for the woman’s husband to be killed in battle!  How could this David be a man after God’s own heart? I have never forgotten my dad’s explanation:

 “Terry, your problem is that you don’t

See David’s story as your story.

And until you do, you will not begin to

Plumb the depths of the truths of the Gospel!”

Well of course, he was right.  There was no way I saw my life story as David’s life story. I had not committed adultery.  I had not committed murder.  I was not what David was … Or was I?

In his book, Holiness By Grace, Bryan Chapell put it this way, “The scandal of Scripture is nothing less than the revelation of our own humanity.  However untouched by the world’s corruptions we may believe ourselves to be, the Bible says our humanity makes us no more beyond the most detestable sins than was King David.”

I have been rescued from self-righteousness by coming to understand the biblical truth that I am never more than one poor decision away from damaging my witness, disgracing my family, and disqualifying myself from pastoring the church God called me and my family to.  That sobering thought protects me from any misguided notion of moral superiority and keeps me focused on this truth:

Like the apostle Paul,

I am the chief sinner,

With the seeds of every sin within me.

And that is why I need Jesus

Every minute and every hour!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

 Pastor Terry

 Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


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