Grow in Holiness not Self Righteousness
In the study I’ve been doing, there was a question this morning that was asked “How does God and the people around me benefit from my becoming Holy?” (paraphrased) At first glance this brought up a lot of negative thoughts because the words Holy and Righteous have been improperly defined by the world and horribly walked out as Christians. This question and these negative thoughts that came with it caused me to dig deeper into what God and His Word means by our being”Holy as He is Holy”. Jen Wilkin said it best in this study when she said “Growing in holiness means growing in our hatred of sin. But reflecting the character of God involves more than just casting off the garment of our old ways. It entails putting on the garment of our new inheritance. Growing in holiness means growing into being loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, truthful, patient, and wise. It means learning to think, speak, and act like Christ every hour of every day that God grants us to walk this earth as the redeemed.” When you think of becoming Holy, think of Christ but, when you think of “self-righteousness” think of the haughty, judgemental Pharisees and religious leaders from the Old Testament. Their focus was on outwardly actions while their hearts were dark and far from the LORD, which caused them to focus on the sins of others without any thought or action regarding their own sin. Christians are not called to be judge and jury but to be Holy as Christ is Holy. When we are no longer concealing the sins that we secretly keep hidden in our private lives, then we can see clear enough to point out the sin in others lives...from a humble and loving heart. For example, are you harshly judging and condemning someone for having an affair, having premarital sex or living a homosexual lifestyle yet in secret you lustfully view images of someone that is not your spouse. Or you do judge and condemn those who murder when you have seething hatred for another human being? God has sympathy for those who sin and are remorseful but from what I’ve seen in scripture the self-righteous bring Him to anger. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:25-28 Either way, we still are not judge...because we are never righteous enough as human beings do judge the hearts of others. “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one.” Romans 3:10 To wrapt this up I want to close by saying that I feel it’s so very important that believers and non-believers, alike, must learn to separate holiness from self-righteousness. Not to mention, we must not allow the actions, thoughts and motives of mere humans to define what a Christian should look like and what “Church” really is. Find out for yourself through reading the Bible, then go and be the one who makes the difference in the “Church” and the world. “You” be the one who defines what holiness and Christianity really look like. Then and only then will the world stop running from God and the Church.