If you remember, a few years ago, I published a blog post regarding the Law and grace, now I don’t know about you but have you ever fallen down the rabbit hole of thinking you have to be a certain way for God to accept you? And that you have to do certain things to keep his acceptance and to keep in His ‘good’ books?
I’m not talking about keeping in step with the Spirit and doing as He leads and commands us but, I’m talking about things like feeling like unless you pray x amounts a day, you can’t be connected with Him…
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine some weeks back, and I shared how God had really been dealing with me in regards to self-righteousness and how subconsciously, there were some things that I’d prided myself for, and held in my heart as making me more holy or righteous than others. And through that, God showed me that I was behaving exactly like the Pharisees, and He really honed in on me and reminded me that it’s not what I do (or don’t do) that makes me holy or righteous but rather, what He did.
In fact, there is nothing that I could do in and of myself that would make me holy or righteous before Him. The Bible says that the righteousness of man is as filthy rags before the Lord. In extent saying that, I could do all the good works in the world; I could abstain from all things, wear clothes down to my ankles in an appearance of modesty; keep my body from piercings, tattoos and all things deemed ‘bad’ and still, that would not be enough. It would never be enough to make me holy, to make me of right standing before God. In fact, it wouldn’t even hold before God. I could do all the things that men deem as making me a ‘good’ person and that would never, could never, be enough.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)
I mean, isn’t that what the Old Testament teaches us?! All the sacrifices and libations the Israelites did, and that was still not enough. Time after time, they fell and God had to send something (someone) better, the only thing that could truly make us holy and righteous because nothing of, and from, man could ever accomplish that. He had to send something from Himself, His only Son. In whom we are the righteousness of God; and in whom we finally attain righteousness – not of ourselves, but His, which He clothes us with.
So, don’t get caught up in the act. Righteousness and holiness is not attained by what we do but in whose we are – Christ’s, God’s. And it’s by Jesus’s sacrifice which we are currently celebrating and giving thanks for that we can attain that status that so many, and in fact, all of us, fall short of. So rest in this verse today, and give thanks:
... I am the Lord, who makes you holy. Leviticus 20:8 (NIV)
And strive to walk with the Spirit of God everyday, yielding to His convictions as He works to perfect you more and more each day.