• William T. Howe Ph.D.

October 31, 2021

Daily Reading: Luke 17-18

Luke 18:9

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

In your reading today you will come across the above verse. It introduces the parable of the Pharisee and the publican and their prayers in the temple. The word picture is insightful, but this short introduction for the purpose of the story is amazing. The Lord put His finger on the pulse of false religion in a few simple words.

Certain that trusted in themselves that they were righteous. Romans 10:3-4 defines this type of person with no uncertainty; 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. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. True personal righteousness is not something that is earned through right deeds. Biblical righteousness is a gift to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one and only Messiah and sacrifice for their sins. The righteous acts observed in a believer’s life actions are only a reflection of the righteousness of the Lord God in their lives.

I don’t know about you, but I know for me, like Paul...well he said it like this: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Romans 7:18) The only true, perfect, and Holy righteousness I possess is the righteousness of the Lord in and through me. Many trust in themselves that they are righteous. Believers trust in the Lord that He is righteous, and His righteousness is credited to them.

Notice the outcropping of self-righteousness, and despised others. Consider this. If I think myself righteous and others do not measure up to my standard of righteousness they may be despised in my sight, for not only will I think myself better than them, but I will also despise them for not making themselves righteous. But, if I know that my only righteousness is Christ’s righteousness through me, then, by default, I am just as personally unrighteous as all others. Therefore, to despise them I would despise myself. By seeing myself unrighteous and the Lord righteous, I make myself equal to all others who are unrighteous, the only difference is Christ’s righteousness in and through me.

Please pray for me, I am trying to be better; but frankly, there are times and situations that my flesh desires one action, but the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and God’s righteousness in me tells me not to do that thing, but to do that which He would do. Like the times I am tempted to despise others for their unrighteousness. This is a warning light that I have slipped into trusting my own righteousness instead of pleading the righteousness of God thereby missing His mercy. Of which much is to be said, but that perhaps on another day.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today through His righteousness in and through you.

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