Establishing Our Own Righteousness

September 14, 2015 - Paul writes, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rm. 10:1-3).

As the picture shows, a house cat sees himself as a mighty majestic lion, in like manner many religious people see themselves in a righteous light. But Paul said, speaking of the Jews that they had zeal but it was a zeal based on their own righteousness and not on the truth.

This comes from our own version of truth and not “the truth.” Paul wrote, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, in creaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh” (Col. 2:18-23).

For all practical purposes Paul is speaking of made up religion and not what is according to Christ. Just like in our text above from Romans they were seeking a righteousness before God but based on their terms and desires. And you see the real danger of this false sense of righteousness can be hard to see for what is presented as truth has the appearance of wisdom.

Jesus also taught that tradition and commandments of men to bring about a sense of righteousness is all for naught, in vain (Matt. 15:7-9). As the prophet said, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Is. 64:6).

Our attempt to be righteous based on our will, desire and standard is useless. We must submit to the righteousness of God, which is only found in Jesus and not men or tradition. And that righteousness is only found in the gospel of Christ (Rm. 1:16-17). And we must not confuse the teachings of men with the righteousness of God.

Northside Church of Christ
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