22 Apr Words of Grace – Loss and Gain
There is an aspect of our human nature that is rarely realized and almost never acknowledged: we all are self-righteous.
The only difference between people is the standard we use to assure ourselves that we possess some sort of rightness in this world and with God. This standard can be religious or cultural. We believe that as long as we are keeping up with the beliefs and practices of whatever religious system to which we belong, or whatever the common cultural orthodoxy of the moment is, then we are righteous.
This standard can be ethnic, racial, or national. We think that we possess a kind of rightness based on our birth and our belonging. The important thing is to belong to the right group of people. If we do, we are right.
At some point in our lives the best thing that can happen to us is to be stripped of our sense of self-righteousness. It is a good day when we see that the standards we are using to be right with the world and God are the wrong ones, and that meeting them is inadequate.
Losing our sense of righteousness can be a great gain. Stripped of self we have the opportunity to look to another to be clothed in true righteousness. We look up, not in. We rely on Christ, not self. We come to know assurance and joy to replace uncertainty and fear. Our restless and striving souls can finally rest and live.
The good news is that we can come to possess the righteousness that is from God through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is the message of Philippians 3:4-9. This Sunday at Grace this will be our theme. I hope you will spend some time this weekend in Philippians 3, pray for someone at Grace, and join us Sunday for corporate worship.