70 myths of losing salvation (48): Exalt yourself, thinking of yourself as righteous and despise others

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For those of you who are new, these series of articles are dedicated to refuting the teaching that a believer can lose its salvation. I am using a reference of 70 ways a believer can fall away from a blogger who name himself smashing idols.

(His full article is here: http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/70-ways-a-believer-can-fall-away/

Also you can follow the refutes of his 70 ways here by just click to this link:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/tag/70-ways-to-lose-your-salvation/)

Here is myth 48

48. exalt yourself, thinking of yourself as righteous and despise others Luke 18:9

Again this is another example of taking Scripture out of context. It is important for us to note that this “righteousness” is the righteousness of the Pharisees i.e. a righteousness from the law. Here is the passage:

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

See it is the Pharisee who thinks he is righteous. Why? Well because he fasted twice a week and tithed!

He was self righteous. He taught he fulfilled the law! Look at the tax collector, he is appealing to God to justify him out of mercy and guess what happened? He was justified.

You see dear friends, the problem here is not that people of the grace gospel are self righteous but they have a righteousness which is apart from the law.

Paul spoke about this. He says righteousness from the law is dung where righteousness from faith is everything.

See Philippians 3

as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law,faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

Dear friends, look at what Paul is saying. He is saying the righteousness from the law is GARBAGE! You must understand that Paul is probably the most faith law believer there is. Yet he says as to the righteousness base on faith “GARBAGE”!

Why? That he may gain Christ. A righteousness from God! His righteousness is a person. His righteousness is found in a human being. His righteousness is based on the life of a person called Jesus.

Watchman Nee wrote about this:

CHRIST BECOMING OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Once I was talking to a theological student. I said, “The Bible does not say that we have put on the righteous garment of Christ. It only says that we have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27 says that we have put on Christ. Today we have not put on the righteousness of Christ, but Christ Himself. The righteousness of Christ is something that is in Christ Himself, and it is history. Today Christians come to God through putting on Christ. Christ Himself has become our righteousness, and we can come to God at any time because Christ lives forever.

How can we, as sinful persons with so many failures, come to God? Why should God answer our prayer? One sister did not feel that temper was a sin, and she would not deal with it. Later, she could not get over a particular matter, and she wanted to have a thorough dealing before the Lord. She called me by phone and made an appointment to talk to me. I told her to go and pray. She took my word and went to pray. Before she went to God, the subject of righteousness was not in her thought. However, as soon as she turned to God, the matter of righteousness came. She thought to herself, “With what kind of righteousness should I come to God?” Then she realized that her temper was a sin, and she acknowledged that she did not have any righteousness of her own. A new believer very often prays and asks, “What is my basis for coming to God?”

Suppose you are in your bedroom. You can dress any way you like, but when you meet a guest, you have to properly attire yourself. No one ever dresses up to go to bed. This is because you are alone when you go to bed, and there is no need to dress up. But during the day you have to meet people; consequently, you have to dress up. In the same way, as soon as a man comes to God, he considers how he should dress. When a certain member of one’s family is sick or in trouble and he is forced to come to God, he often suddenly remembers many sins that he has otherwise ignored.

How do we come to God? First Corinthians 1:30 is a great verse in the New Testament. This verse reveals that a Christian does not come to God through his own righteousness. Neither does he come to God with his many sins. Rather, he comes to God through Christ alone. A Christian’s access to God is not based on his righteousness or his unrighteousness. This verse shows us clearly that Christ has become the righteousness of the believers. It is not something about Christ that has become our righteousness; rather, Christ Himself in His entirety has become our righteousness. Something of Christ can never be as absolute and perfect as Christ Himself. When Christ Himself becomes our righteousness, God receives us.

The experience of many Christians follows a certain pattern: If they read the Bible in the morning and manage to control their temper during the day, they can pray in a strong way at night. But if they fail during the day, their prayer at night is very weak. Actually, even when we sin, Christ is still our righteousness. The fact has not changed, because we are in Christ. If we behave well today and think that we are more qualified to come to God, we are coming to Him by our own righteousness. This is a wrong concept. God does not receive us based on our righteousness, much less on our unrighteousness. His receiving is based on Christ. 

A Christian does not become more unrighteous through sinning, nor does he become more righteous through doing good. Sin does not diminish a Christian’s righteousness, nor do good works increase his righteousness. Our righteousness before God is not dependent on our conduct, but on Christ Himself. Our righteousness before God never changes. 

 

Righteousness is a person; it is not a thing. The righteousness that a Christian has is the living Christ; it is not some dead object. Even if we committed all the sins of the world, our righteousness is still Christ Himself. Sooner or later every Christian must realize who this One is who is his righteousness.”

Also Paul also wrote about this is Romans 3

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

Notice this dear friends, no one is declared righteous by the works of the Law. This new righteousness that God wants is found “in Christ”. This not the righteousness of the Pharisees.

Jesus in this parable is telling us that you can be justified. Not by law. But entirely by mercy. Paul says the same thing:

Titus 3:5
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Now Paul is about to make a statement which is horrifying to the self righteous mind like smashingidol. He says “However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodlytheir faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:5

Yes the “ungodly”. Are you one of them? Well come on board. God chose the tax collector as his neighbor. I am sure you are welcome too.  I just wanted to end with what Watchman Nee wrote and pray that you are blessed.

Even if I suffer as much as Paul did, love the Lord as much as John did, and am as bold as Peter was, it will not increase my righteousness at all. My conduct may improve, but my righteousness can never improve. I can advance in holiness, but I cannot advance in my righteousness, because the righteousness that God has given me is already perfect. This righteousness is just Christ. I am the most righteous person on earth because my righteousness is just Christ. Just as Christ never changes and is well pleasing to God, I cannot change, and I am well pleasing to Him.

Once this issue is settled, all the problems that a Christian faces are settled. We have seen that righteousness has nothing to do with sin. Sin is one thing, righteousness is another. If our coming to God is based on this righteousness, Satan can do nothing to accuse us. I hope that we will not take these words as just a kind of doctrine. In the course of our fellowship with God, we have to see something new. We have to see that man’s condition before God can be good or bad, but his position before God can never change. If our life as a Christian lasts for twenty or thirty more years on this earth, we may become more advanced, holy, spiritual, or mature, but our righteousness will not change. It will not afford us more boldness, nor will it take away any of our boldness, because our righteousness is simply Christ Himself.

Watchman Nee”

Amen.

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