The Evil of Our Righteousness

Mark 10:17-22
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"
"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Bryan Chapell
Holiness by Grace
chapter 3, page 75
"To make us realize how great is our need of repentance, Jesus gives us a special perspective in this passage. To expose this young ruler to the depth of his sin Jesus, who knows that the young man will not face his sin, confronts him with 'the evil of our righteousness.' The early American evangelist George Whitefield first used this phrase, to confront the self-righteous with the inadequacy of our own goodness to qualify them for heaven.
"I rediscovered the arresting power of Whitefield's phrase when recently talking with another pastor in an airport restaurant about the nature of true repentance. When I said, "George Whitefield taught that we need to sense not only the evil of our sin but the evil or our righteousness,' a woman listening nearby turned to us. 'Oh no!' she said. 'Do you mean that I have to feel guilty for good, too?' I smiled and said, 'No, that is not really the point, but God wants us to know that our good works are not good enough to make him love us. That is why we need Jesus no matter how good we think we are.' The goodness of our good works can be truly good and a blessing to others. There is a danger in making people think that there is nothing they can do that will please God or help others. Still, there is never sufficient goodness in our best works to make them truly holy by God's ultimate standard. That is why our best works still fall short of qualifying us for heaven."
I'd love to have your thoughts on this quote. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this quote! I love thinking and chewing on it. I think the moment it becomes about us we're in trouble. Whether we get our focus on our sin or our "good works", we can miss the point. The point is HIM. Our thoughts and perspective should and must always be Godward. Thanks for inspiring thoughts and meditations on our great God! Hugs, Marie