That Belongs In the Garbage!
Two men went to the altar to pray. One was a Pharisee. He obeyed the Law meticulously. He fasted weekly, paid his tithes faithfully, offered all the sacrifices required, and was among the most morally upright in Israel. The other was a publican, a notorious sinner. He stood no chance of being heard, or so you would think. Shockingly, according to Jesus, the Pharisee received nothing. The publican received everything! What happened?
The Pharisee made the mistake so many make. He trusted in his own righteousness, the one he personally managed to obtain through his obedience to the Law. What he did not realize was that by the perfect standard of the Law, his own righteousness, while being much greater than that of the publican, was still no more than filthy rags. The publican, on the other hand, placed zero confidence in his flesh. He relied one-hundred percent on the grace of God.
In light of Jesus’ teaching, what should you do with the righteousness you are trying to obtain through self-effort and law-keeping? Throw it in the trash! Treat it as garbage! It is totally useless to you. It will not help you. It certainly did not help the Pharisee one bit.
Listen to the Apostle Paul address this issue himself:
“…if someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 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 Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:4-9 NIV)
Child of God, don’t be like the Pharisee. Stop trusting in your own righteousness. Decide today to put the garbage in the trash, once for all. Then you can gain Christ and take full delivery of the only righteousness that can help you–the free gift of righteousness which God gives to all who believe in His Son.