Jesus tells a parable about two people before God….
Luke 18:10-14. Quote:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get’.
“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.
“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”.
End of Parable.
So is this how we are to come to God? Like the humble man? I believe not, here are some reasons why, Jesus was ministering to Jews, not only were they Jews who were under the Law, Jesus was also ministering to them with the Law. The law is all about self righteousness.
If you look closely both men were coming in their own self righteousness, one in a “clean” self righteousness and the other in a “dirty” self righteousness.
Are we to come like the humble man? Hopefully we have moved passed our own self righteousness into the true gospel. What is the true gospel? The true gospel is that we do not come in our own righteousness at all. We come in a gifted righteousness.
We do not stand right with God by our own works, we will never stand right with God based on our own works. That my friend is old testament law.
The righteousness that we standing is so, sin cleansing, so forgiving, so completely amazing that we become the righteousness of God in Christ. So how clean is that? Its as clean as God! How foolish it is then to pick up your own righteousness which are like filthy rags to gain acceptance with Him.
So we neither beat our chest or puff it out in pride. We come boldly because the cross has paid for all my sin, every taint, stain, dot or smigen, it leaves me the same righteousness as God.
Am I to be humble? You should be automatically if you understand how unrighteous your own self righteousness is. You should be automatically humble and have awe and gratitude, love and thanksgiving all because you understand the gravity of what He did when He died on the cross for you. We are like the Tax Collector after He has been received, and discovered God made Him right with HIm.
The gift of righteousness the cross supplies you is access all the way to the throne, and from there rule and reign with Him in heavenly places, as His offspring. How is this achieved? it is finished, but you will only dwell where your faith is. Though you have grace all the way to the throne, you can’t come in if you’re trying to come in your own self righteousness. The rule of Christianity is believe before results. You will know the truth (then) the truth will set you free.
So do we tear our clothes and humble ourselves? In our heart, yes, but not as some self flagellating religious act, ours is an automatic response from believing in His righteousness not our own. From being righteous we are grieved all the more by all that which is not in line with Him.
True Christianity never has anything to do with our own righteousness, all it has to do with is a gift, so automatically we should be totally humble and grateful. It is not a gift if we are trying to earn the gift or pay for it in some way.
We never cast down this gift and take up our own righteousness again, that would be living under our own performance. The more you understand the gift of righteousness the more you will live righteously, and desire to live righteously.
So back to that gift and how I should come before God.
The more faith you have in the work Jesus did on the cross the more freer and higher you will live. What is the high call? It is the applied understanding of what He has paid for. You have known the truth and applied it to your life and it has set you very free. Not only that it has made you very complete. If you understand it and apply it, this gift will leave you standing at the throne in His perfection not yours, it will leave you whole and healed and like Him.
Increase your faith in His payment, which is the true gospel, and His gift to you. Applied knowledge of this payment, really believing it, is the Word that will wash you, and make you whole; it is the Word the Holy Spirit anoints to set you free.
So never stand there in your own righteousness, come in His, all the way to a bold right standing, it is His gift to you and it cost Him dearly.
You are right with Him in Christ, right now!