The SIN of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Sin of Self Righteousness
Sermon Summary: Self righteousness is a sin which every believer gets entangled with in their personal lives, it is important we identify it soon that taking changes with this issue.
The sin of Self Righteousness - is something which we don’t see, right through in front of us. But this slowly grows in the heart of a believer and as we move forward in our Christian lives, we need to maintain a consistency in maintaining our Christian growth. The lack of this maintenance creates a malignancy which will be an adverse matter, in our Christian growth, and slowly our Christian lives start to decay.
Illustration - The teacher and the students
Few things I would like to point as an intro out firstly that according to the standards of God/ by the perspective of God this is sin. The word of God condemns this sin very seriously. In our Christian lives God aims from us perfection but we need to also do that with a heart of submission, God expects righteousness from each one of us but we need not be self righteous. As God has placed us on this earth, let us strive for God righteousness as we look into this topic.
In my initial class I mentioned on the topic of the three parables I mentioned that these parables reflect the heart of God toward an individual. But through the examination of this parable Jesus addresses his message of the love of God to a group of people – the Pharisees. In this parable the parable of the prodigal son – I would like to draw a topical study on the topic of the sin of self righteousness by looking at the older son in this parable, and here we can identify a close reference to the Pharisees. We understand the failure of this son when we see understand the topic of self righteousness. So I would like to divide my sessions in two questions and make observations here based on this passage.
· What is self righteousness?
· What is not self righteousness?
As I started progressing I realized this sin as I said early its easy to commit either we can be victims or we can actually be doing this.
What is Self Righteousness?
· Trusting in oneself for righteousness – Luke18:19
We see that the elder son was angry with the father v28, and he was overconfident of his own effort. Even in his statements to the father portray an attitude of his self sufficiency a lack of grace in his communications. I could observe here the sin of self righteousness he was committing and he fails to communicate properly with his father. When Jesus makes this statement, he teaches that the son here failes to observes the righteousness of God which has accepted all human race to come to God despite of the shortcomings and failures.
· To think one is righteous based on his own obedience to rules (Law keeping)
The son was always under the understanding that he was always right in his efforts and he can never be wrong. He always followed the rules by the book. Jesus makes a clear reference here to the Pharisees we see here that they were all adamant and very fanatic about keeping the law. These people enjoyed the comfort and security in the religiosity. The problem in this obedience was the lack of understanding the truth of grace and love. So we see the son getting more and more away from the father.
· To think one is righteous by his own moral goodness
In the parable of the prodigal son, we see here that the son evaluated his younger brother based on efforts. V. 29 a – Many years I ….; I never….: I might…. We see here the third problem of the son that is he places a standard of perfection based on himself. Now what is the Bible say about the standard of perfection, examining Gal 3:1-14, we understand there that Paul speaks very aggressively to the believers at Galatia, the significance of maintaining the righteousness which God has given to them as a gift, examining the passage we see that Paul gets angry with them for taking it very lightly, Paul teaches that righteousness as a gift and not as one that is earned by keeping the Law (or following any modern-day rules.) God expects to have the standard of perfection through Jesus, as we ourselves didn’t have the standard of perfection in our lives, because of sins. When we aim for the standard of perfection we look at striving to be righteous by our own methods and that was the issue with this son, we need to be careful that this doesn’t influence us.
Our prayer should be like David as he points out to us in Ps 16:2 – My goodness or the standard of perfection which I have in me is from and apart from what you give me I don’t have anything.
· To associate or to placing a control atmosphere in judgment
In this parable we see that as the son approached the father, we see here that the son wanted the father to be placing a judgment on the younger son or his brother like the elder one does. We see that this is controlled atmosphere, a person who is self righteous will always want to create a controlled atmosphere in fact we see analyzing the nature of the Pharisees that they were trying to put God in a BOX.
Here we see the contrast between the wisdom of God and human wisdom in making a judgment. The self righteous person finds it hard to accept the justice of God being implemented on people and we see that through this elder son, when we see the father who receives the son who returned.
Bible pinpoints to us to identify the our weakness and live lives pleasing God by first making an introspection ourselves we in Rom 14:6-7 we all stand in front of God before judgment so we need to be careful in judgment in the same epistle Rom 15:6-7God shows how we need to avoid the judgmental attitude and live in unity.
· Is work to be seen by men – V 28 and 29
We see here that the elder son craved for attention so we see here in his statement, he wants the father to notice him, promote him and identify his efforts. Examining the Pharisees we need to study this closely, they always seeked for the attention they desired within their hearts as a teacher, I need respect. Jesus draws our attention through this elder son the attitude of these people. How we need to avoid seeking attention and in humility live for Christ.
· Creates in oneself an attitude of superiorly in arrogance over others
What happens in this conversation we saw, in his conversation he exercises, the elder son places himself so high, that he is not willing to accept his own any weakness. He was holding himself so high, that he overlooked his brother and his father in contempt. He wanted and demanded the best.
· Hypocritical LIFE
Once self righteousness come to the life of a believer, he or she is driven forward to live a hypocritical life. We may preach the joy of Christ, but there is no joy within, we may proclaim the peace of Christ but our hearts will be always driven by unrest, we may teach love, but there may be hate towards our brethren. The Pharisees were driven by their self righteousness and we see their failures they lived as hypocrites.
What is not Self Righteousness?
o Carefully obeying God’s word & Exercising it out
We should not get confused in out Christian lives, what is not self righteousness that understands the word of God for nourishment and for careful maintenance of Christian lives. 1Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:10. We see the scriptures Christ the Saviour of the obedient Heb 5:8-9. Obedience carried out in action is needed James 2:21-24
o Zeal and Dedication
This is expected of every believers to have the zeal and dedication – tit 2:14
ü Being diligent and fervent Rom 12:11
o Reproving and Rebuking Sin
We misunderstand this area a lot in connection with self righteousness, when a person admonishes or is admonished the Bible clearly states the need of correcting sin but the bible is also clear in bring the person back to Christ 2 Tim 4:2; Gal 2:11-14.
o Refusing to have fellowship with those who sin and teach error.
2 Jn 9-11; 2 Cor6:14-7:1
o Believing in the absolute truth of the will of God Ep 3:3-5; Jn 8:32
The Bible clearly places a very strong message in connection to the topic against self righteousness, submit to God Rom 10:2-4 – what is a matter is Righteousness from God by faith. Do and teach God’s commandments, rely on the mercy of God, and not out own power Heb 11:7, we are saved by grace through faith and not by our own efforts Eph 2:8-9. In conclusion I would like to say this self-righteousness is a sin that easily get in an church, but what matters is how can we identify it and get rid of it. This sin can be countered by repeatedly teaching and preaching the gospel of Grace, because hell will be filled with also self righteous people who assumed they are righteous on earth. My professor says this to me Thomson never expect only believers to be in a church as they are also unbelievers in a church so preach gospel when you have a sermon as the gospel has the power to change sinners. Self righteousness is a weed that grows in a season of harvest of righteousness in a believer’s life.