"Rebuke the spirit of pride in the power of the keys and you will be free of the spiritual bondage you experience."

Self-Righteousness

"And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican! I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying,God be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted!" (Luke18:9-14)
The most righteous person there at the Temple that day was not the very holier-than-thou, self-righteous, hypocritical Scribe and Pharisee who kept the jot and the tittle of the law, who even when he went to pick mint and anise out of his garden, would pluck off ten percent to make sure that he tithed properly and all that sort of thing. (Mat.23:23) Jesus had to tell His disciples, "This seemingly righteous Pharisee is not the most righteous, but the more righteous of the two is this poor publican and sinner!" A tax collector, who to the Jews was the worst kind of a character they could possibly imagine. They were usually extortionists, cheaters and robbers of the poor. Franchised tax collectors for the Romans, considered traitors to their brethren. The Romans would tell them how much taxes they needed and how much people had to pay Caesar, and then they could charge whatever they wanted to more than that for their own income. So they were hated by their Jewish brethren, considered the scum of the Earth.
So here was this poor tax collector in the Temple praying, "Lord, be merciful unto me, a sinner!" And what did Jesus say to these Jewish followers of His? "Which one do you think is the most righteous? It's this poor tax collector who knows he's a sinner and is asking for forgiveness."
In the sight of God there is no worse pride than self-righteous religious pride! The self-righteous, Pharisaical, proud, religious person who "thanks God he's not as other men" or as other women, and looks down on them because they don't have as much faith as he has, and they don't do this or they don't do that. Those self-righteous proud hypocrites who are so proud of their own success and righteousness and look down on the other guys. They are the most hard and intolerant people that you could possibly run into. They have no mercy, no compassion, no sympathy for the poor guys who really haven't got it, can't make it, etc.
Such self-righteous hypocrisy so infuriated Jesus that He publicly blasted them, "woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, but have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith!These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone! Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!" (Mat.23:23,24)
Self-righteousness is pride and pride is self-righteousness!-Thinking that you are more righteous than God! If you're proud of your own righteousness, then you're rebelling against God's righteousness, because you're saying you're more righteous than God, so you're rebelling against God! That is nothing but pure pride!
This is the greatest and worst of all sins, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, that holier-than-thou attitude, that self-goodness. God hates this worse than anything because there is no goodness except God! " And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:" (Mat.19:17) God is the only One Who is good, and He hates for people to pretend they are good, because God knows they're all bad! "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)
Everybody's bad except those who have faith and have the goodness of God, the love of God and the righteousness of God. God's Word says that all other righteousness, Man's righteousness, your own righteousness, your own goodness, is like filthy rags! "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags!" (Isa.64:6) In other words, God says if you don't have his goodness, which is true goodness, true holiness, real love, real mercy, you have nothing, even worse than nothing! You're a filthy rag!
So who were really the filthiest sinners of all in Jesus' time? The poor filthy publicans and "bad" people who prayed, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner, or the hypocritical religious people who said, "We don't need cleaning up, and crucified Him for exposing their well-covered filth! They were the filthiest of all, and the same is true today!The worst filth in God's eyes is that God-damned self-righteousness and hypocrisy!
Jesus told the religious leaders of His day that they were worse than the drunks and the harlots and the publicans and the sinners that they despised, and that there was more chance for sinners to get saved than for these self-righteous hypocrites who not only wouldn't confess their sins, but couldn't even see their sins! They couldn't even see that there was something seriously wrong with them, didn't even recognize it. They had resisted the Truth for so long and so hardened their hearts against the voice of God, that they were absolutely pitifully "darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God!" (Ephesians 4:18,19)
He told them to their faces, "Verily I say unto you, the publicans and the harlots will go into the Kingdom of God before you!" (Matthew 21:31) He told His disciples, "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!" (Matthew 5:20) In other words, unless you're better than they are, you'll never get to Heaven, and the only way you can be better than they is to have Christ's righteousness. Because they were as good as you could get in the natural without the help of the Lord, which was pretty bad!
Such self-righteousness is nothing but a pretence, pretending to be so righteous and right all the time. Jesus so hated this pretence, this hypocrisy, He publicly told them, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess! Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also! Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness! Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity!" (Matthew 23:25-28)
Why were the Scribes and the Pharisees so self-righteous and hypocritical ? Because they were so proud that they didn't want to confess that they were sinners like everyone else, that there was anything wrong with them. They never admitted and recognized it, so they became "blind leaders of the blind" and they all fell into the ditch, and they committed the sin that couldn't be forgiven, and that was the sin of self-righteousness and rejection of Jesus Christ, their only hope of Salvation! (Matthew 15:14)
It almost makes you feel better to know you're bad, to admit you're not good. After all, God said so, nobody's good. That's why the worst kind of people in the sight of God are the self-righteous hypocrites who pretend to be good and look down on everybody else.
"There is none righteous, no, not one!" "For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast!" (Romans 3:10; Ephesians 2:8,9) This principle is true of everything! So we just need to give up on trying to be good ourselves and admit, "I'm just not good, I'm bad, I'm a sinner, of course I make mistakes!"


Real Righteousness!


The Devil has really got the World brainwashed! He's even got them brainwashed to the point where what the world thinks is righteousness is just the opposite of God's ideas of righteousness! Isn't that sad! They don't realize what God's righteousness is! Their ideas are so different from God's!
The Devil's idea of righteousness is totally the opposite of God's idea. The Devil's idea is the self-righteous, holier-than-thou hypocrite-the supposedly sinless perfectionist.
Whereas God's idea of righteousness is the pitiful, hopeless, lost, humble, sinful sinner who knows he needs God, those He came to save. "He came not to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners!" (Matthew 9:13) So God's idea of goodness is Godliness-a sinner who knows he needs God and depends on him for salvation, not the Devil's self-righteous hypocrites who think they can save themselves by their own goodness.
God's idea of saintliness is not sinless perfection, self-righteousness. It's a sinner saved by grace, a sinner who has no perfection, no righteousness of his own at all, but is totally dependent on the grace and the Love and the mercy of God by faith! Believe it or not, those are the only saints there are-there are no others!
God knows you're anything but perfect and can't be perfect and never will be perfect, and usually you're pretty much of a mess, like the rest of us. So the only question, the only standard is: Do you depend on the Lord totally, trust Him and His grace and His Love and His mercy and give Him all the glory and all the credit? If there's anything good you ever do, do you give Him the glory? Do you say, "Thank Jesus, don't thank me! Thank the Lord, it's all the Lord!"
That's what the Lord looks to as saintliness, the person who knows he's a sinner and therefore gives God all the glory if anything good comes of what he's done. As Paul said, "I know that in me, my flesh, dwelleth no good thing!" (Romans 7:18) There's nothing good about me or my flesh, anything good is only the Lord, that's sainthood!

The Root Of All Sin-Pride!

Pride is a horrible thing, it can damn you to Hell! Pride is the biggest thing that causes Christians trouble. The biggest failures in the Word of God were the big shot boys who thought they knew it all and went out and fell flat on their faces. They thought they could operate in their own natural wisdom and went out and fell flat.
In the world, pride is normally quite a virtue, so people are brainwashed and brought up to believe that. But in the lord's service and in the spiritual, it's very bad and something you have to really try to fight against and overcome.
Being bound by pride and self-righteousness can greatly hinder your spiritual progress and "growing up" in the Lord. It is only when you get to the point where you really yield to the Lord and get desperate and are willing to forsake it and be delivered that you will be in a position to really grow and mature. For spiritual maturity is not just a matter of years or time, although that often helps, but it's a matter of your connection with the Lord and His Word, your obedience and your humility.
Pride is a problem we all have really, it's one of our main temptations, all of us. What was it that caused the fall of Satan, pride! The basis of virtually all sin is pride. Pride will really get in your way and hinder and keep you from growing and learning what God wants to teach you, and from becoming what He wants you to be.
The Lord says that the full, those who think they know better and think themselves so righteous and are full of their own ideas, He sends empty away. (Luke 1:53) One reason that the proud and self-satisfied never seem to grow spiritually is because even if they read the word a little, it just rolls like water off a duck's back. They're insulated, they're waterproofed to it, and the Water of the Word can no longer sink in!
They are already soaked in the veneer of self-righteousness and waterproofing against the Word. A thin paint of self-goodness and self-obedience and pretended service and sacrifice. So insulated, so waterproofed that the Word doesn't even soak in anymore! They are usually so insulated against the electric shocks of the Holy Spirit that they don't even feel them anymore, so blind that they can't even see and realize their horrible spiritual condition! And if they don't humble themselves and really surrender to the Lord, they soon become so hardened in their hearts that they're completely darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, past feeling! (Ephesians 4:18,19)
We've said before that discouragement is the Devil's favorite weapon, but it's usually our pride which is really behind the discouragement, he uses that pride to get us discouraged. So pride is really his favorite weapon. He's always trying to tempt us with that sort of thing, to make us get high and lifted up.
It is not our fault that we get tempted, that's the enemy doing that and he does it to all of us. It's our fault when we listen to him and go ahead and take the credit and glory for things and don't attack and hit him back every time he tries that tactic on us! So whatever we may do that he tempts us to get proud about and to take the credit for, we've got to really fight. Fight hard for as long as it takes and really tell him off and say, "Get thee behind me, Satan, It's not me, it's just the Lord! I'm not going to take the credit for this, I'm just going to give the glory to Jesus! It's not anything I'm doing, somebody else could do it just as well! It's all the lord's Work!" Just hit him back and quote Scriptures and really attack!
The minute you start patting yourself on the back, watch out, God will see to it that you're humbled to bring you out of it. So don't for one moment give yourself the credit for one little thing that you've done. That's one of the biggest dangers you have, to begin thinking it's you. It's God's anointing, and if He withdraws it, you're as flat as ever!
When you just want to show off your own big talents or looks or whatever you think you're so great at, that's a very wrong attitude or motivation for any of us to have. It's part of that self-righteous "works-trip", wanting to do something wonderful or be somebody attractive and appealing to earn love and attention. Wanting to have the glory yourself instead of just giving it to the Lord.
So for God's sake, confess to yourself and others continually how hopeless you are without God! Give him all the glory for anything good about you and yourself all the blame for anything bad! That's usually a pretty good rule, because it's usually right!-"What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" (1Corinthians 4:7) "Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from above." (James 1:17) So give God all the glory!

David Berg

Edited by Almondtree Productions