I often see self-righteous believers who think they are better than others. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve felt that way too.
Worse yet, unbelievers often complain that Christians are self-righteous – holier than thou – people.
How do we get that reputation?
We become self-righteous when we reject faith and grace and embrace law and works. Legalists are always arrogant. Grace always humbles.
Even if you don’t feel it, all believers are declared righteous – JUSTIFIED. God’s declaration of your righteousness isn’t a fiction. He’s not closing his eyes and pretending. Justification isn’t a fairy-tale It’s a validated verdict by God the judge. (Rom. 3:23-25)
How many of your sins has Jesus taken away? Is your guilty conscience greater than God’s verdict? Can you accept what God says?
Justification is a grace-benefit received by faith alone. It’s not a behavior-based benefit like rewards.
Even though justification is a grace-benefit, nearly everyone feels a need to earn it. Jesus says there are two attributes of those who validate their own righteousness.
Two qualities of the Self-Righteous:
First, they look down their noses at others.
Second, they compare themselves with those they deem less worthy.
Read Luke 18:9-14 to get the word from the horse’s mouth.
Self-justification – self-righteousness – forces you to find a point of comparison below yourself. You need to compare yourself with someone less worthy in order to feel better about yourself.
Who has judged you as “less worthy?” I’ll tell you who judges me, Christians. Sure, there are a few unbelievers who love to gossip and put down. But, by far, it’s people who claim to be Christians who are putting other Christians down.
Why do we condemn? If Jesus is right, we are self-validating, self-righteous Pharisees.
Note: There is a difference between thinking someone is wrong and using their wrongness as a point of self-righteousness.