Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sinless Saints, The Selfless Savior, & The Self-Righteous

Christians are Not Charged with Sin by God
2 Corinthians 5:19 says, God is no longer counting people's sins against them." Romans 10:4 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the end of the law to everyone who trusts Him." Romans 4:15 says, "Where there is no law there is no sin." Romans 5:13 says, "Sin is not charged when there is no law."

God frees us from the power of sin and does not charge us with sin so that nothing can ever come between us and God. God does not however change the relational realities of how our actions affect others. God has made peace with us and reconciled us to Himself through the blood of Jesus. He has not however reconciled us with each other. He gives us the freedom to choose brotherly love but He does not force it upon us. This is why Jesus' concern in His prayer to the Father in John 17 was that "we may be one as He and the Father are one." He prayed it three times.

If you do something unloving God is going to ask you to reconcile with the person you've harmed but He isn't going to "write you up," "mark it it on your record," or count it against you. The rules don't apply to you (Romans 3:19, 1 Timothy 1:9). God is about love and relationships not laws and rules. In Jesus Christ God leads us by His Spirit not by laws (Romans 7:6). He walks along side us as a friend and says, "Hey you hurt that person. I want you to apologize to them." God does not say, "I said in the bible that it is bad to do that. You need to apologize to me because I am offended."

The Selflessness of God
God is love and God is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). He cares about others. Just because sin is taken away does not mean God stops being love. Because Christ condemned sin in His body God no longer has to be displeased with sin. Sin is taken care of, He no longer counts it against anyone. God is not personally offended He only cares about those who are being harmed. His love is selfless. God does not take into account wrongs done against Him (1 Corinthians 13:5). He seeks to heal the broken not to crush the wicked, sin has already been crushed because Jesus was crushed. You need no more proof than the way Jesus lived on earth that God seeks to heal the broken & not to crush the wicked.

Why Jesus Attacked Self-Righteousness
Yes Jesus confronted the self-righteous (the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, teachers of the law) but was it simply because God doesn't like self-righteousness? No, He confronted them because, as Jesus said in Matthew 23, they lay oppressive burdens on others, they make themselves look good & welcome honorary titles which makes others feel inferior to them, they kept people from the kingdom of heaven by making human traditions and human religious rules more important than God’s words, they were blind guides who turned people into what Jesus called "sons of hell," they killed and continued to kill the messengers of God including Christ Himself.

Jesus said in Mark 7:13 that self-righteousness and the traditions of men stop, nullify, cancel, make void, invalidate, destroy, make of no effect, reject, and set aside the word of God, scripture, the cross of Jesus, & Jesus Himself. They don't just invalidate the scriptures but they set aside Jesus, the Word of God, thus removing Him from focus.

Self-righteousness is the most destructive mindset there is. Self-righteousness is a lie. Perhaps the worst lie of all time because it affects the Christian and the non-Christian and because it says, "I don't need God." It unknowingly says "I don't want God." It says, "What Jesus did for me is not enough I have to add to it." It says, "God will not love me until I try to please Him." Another word for self-righteous can be religious. Self-righteousness makes God's love seem conditional. It shames those who feel inadequate and puffs up those who feel adequate.

The self-righteous aren't just the prideful. Yes they are those who perhaps knowingly say "I can" but they are also those who unknowingly believe "Jesus didn't so I must." Both rely on themselves rather than Christ. Sadly neither understand the truly good news of the gospel. When the second type of self-righteous person hears the Father say "I love you" they still feel inside, "No you don't because I'm not good enough." They think "I'm not good enough because I'm not doing all I need to do." They ultimately, without realizing it, believe just like the prideful self-righteous person that "God is not good enough to make me righteous but I am" and "Jesus is not good enough to make me good. Only what I can do can make me good."

Self-righteousness again says, "Jesus and what He has done is not valid." It prevents Him from working because you are trying to work for Him. In practicality it rejects Jesus, His grace, & His help. It says, "Stand aside Jesus I've got this." Yet it pleads, "Love me Lord because I don't think that you do." Self-righteousness tries to earn what has already been given. It tries to achieve what has already been achieved by Jesus. Jesus confronted self-righteousness because it not only says and does all these things but it also makes others who see it feel like they need to earn God's approval also.

Self-righteousness destroys sinners and saints like nothing else can. It is a lie. A lie that ultimately says, "Christ died for nothing." The prideful self-righteous shame the lowly and the lowly self-righteous shame themselves. Self-righteousness is a lie that breeds shame and invalidates the center figure of history Jesus Christ.

Jesus went after the self-righteous because they did and would destroy countless lives physically and especially spiritually. Other things are like a rock that stubs the toe, easily taken care of and little to get upset about. Self-righteousness is the lie that causes people to not trust Jesus. Without trust, faith, there is nothing because without trust love is ignored, considered non-existent, or considered limited. God is love. May we trust His Son and be thankful for His gifts.

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