Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Self-Righteousness: Premier Enemy of the Gospel for the Good and the Bad

The excerpt below is from The Double-Reach of Self-Righteousness by Tullian Tchividjian:
The Bible makes it clear that self-righteousness is the premier enemy of the Gospel. And there is perhaps no group of people who better embody the sin of self-righteousness in the Bible than the Pharisees. In fact, Jesus reserved his harshest criticisms for them, calling them whitewashed tombs and hypocrites. Surprisingly to some, this demonstrates that unrighteous badness is not the only threat to gospel advancement. Self-righteous goodness is equally toxic....
....it’s always the immoral person that gets the Gospel before the moral person. It’s the prostitute who understands grace; it’s the Pharisee who doesn’t. It’s the unrighteous younger brother who gets it before the self-righteous older brother.

There is, however, another side to self-righteousness that younger-brother types need to be careful of. There’s an equally dangerous form of self-righteousness that plagues the unconventional, the liberal, and the non-religious types. We anti-legalists can become just as guilty of legalism in the opposite direction. What do I mean?

It’s simple: we can become self-righteous against those who are self-righteous.

Many younger evangelicals today are reacting to their parents’ conservative, buttoned-down, rule-keeping flavor of “older brother religion” with a type of liberal, untucked, rule-breaking flavor of “younger brother irreligion” which screams, “That’s right, I know I don’t have it all together and you think you do; I know I’m not good and you think you are. That makes me better than you.” See the irony?
In other words, they’re proud that they’re not self-righteous!
 There's more at the link!

"The Discomfort of the Justified Life"

"God wants us to find our primary joy in our objectively declared justification, not in our subjectively perceived sanctification. Regardless of how much progress we make in our pursuit of holiness, it will never come close to the absolute perfect righteousness of Christ that is ours through our union with him in his life and death.

So we should learn to live with the discomfort of the justified life. We should accept the fact that as still-growing Christians we will always be dissatisfied with our sanctification. But at the same time, we should remember that in Christ we are justified. We are righteous in him"
--Jerry Bridges, 'The Discomfort of the Justified Life,' in Justified: Modern Reformation Essays on the Doctrine of Justification (ed. Ryan Glomsrud and Michael Horton; Modern Reformation, 2010), 94

Hat Tip: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology

Keep Me From Being an Evangelical Hypocrite

Of all hypocrites, grant that I may not be
an evangelical hypocrite,
who sins more safely because grace abounds,
who tells his lusts that Christ's blood
cleanseth them,
who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell,
for he is saved,
who loves evangelical preaching, churches,
Christians, but lives unholily.

A Puritan prayer from the book Valley of Vision.

Hat Tip:  Joshua Harris