This has been a rather challenging topic for me to wrap my head around. I have been called names that imply people think I am self-righteous. I have been told this directly to my face. Who knows maybe I was, maybe I am. Similarly as someone who has tried to abstain from sin thus not follow the norm, others have pointed the finger saying I am just to self righteousness and need to lighten up, have more “fun”. But aren’t we as God’s children supposed to be righteous? So what’s the difference between being self-righteous and righteous?
This is still a question I am pondering within myself. I am trying to evaluate myself for self righteousness. Self righteousness is similar to pride in many ways. Or maybe it is a form of pride. It is the belief that you are of superior moral quality compared to others. It is the basically what the Pharisees did. “Look at those horrible sinners over there, I am glad I’m not like them, I’m glad I am a “good” person”. Similarly it is the false belief that we become moral or good character by our own making rather than acknowledging God as the source of those good morals. For without God’s law to begin with we humans would have no notion of what is considered moral. Similarly self righteousness is the belief that you become moral through following the law rather than through the blood of Jesus.
So what is righteousness. Righteousness is something we as God children receive through the death of Jesus which washes us of our sins and gives us the ability to abide in Christ. Through this abiding in Christ we improve in moral character and learn to walk according to God’s laws. Thus our righteousness is accredited to what God is doing within us through his spirit and a reflection of the maturity of us his children. We as God’s children practice good morals or righteousness because of the gift of grace given us through Jesus. It is a result of abiding in Christ and cannot be obtained otherwise. For without Christ any righteousness within you would be self righteousness.
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” 1 John 2:28-29
When you look at your own life do you see yourself as a moral person? Is the morality self righteousness or righteousness? Not sure? Why not ask God to show you. Amen.