No Righteousness of My Own
It is a blessed thing to be a man with no righteousness of my own. To some this may sound silly. To people of the world who care nothing for God, it may not even make sense. What does "righteousness" mean, and who cares about it? To the average religious person, it seems to be a foolish statement. After all, what good could there be in being a man who has no righteousness of his own? Wouldn't it be better to be able to say you have some righteousness? Wouldn't it be better to try and find some, somewhere, or better oneself so that we may establish some. A little personal reform can go a long way. No one wants to be without righteousness of some sort.
And here remains both a truth and a lie. The lie is that there is such thing as "some righteousness" before God. It is even more of a lie to believe that we can establish some for ourselves. It will be righteous in our eyes, perhaps, but it will be an abomination in God's sight -not just because our best deeds are tained with sin, but because we have the audacity to present our righteousness before God in such as way as to think that God should be bound to bless our filth as though He were our Debtor. That makes it a thousand times more insulting to the Holy One who made all things. If the stench of our past sins were not enough to provoke Him to wrath, then certainly our bold arrogance of making God in our own image so that He should be pleased with us is more than enough.
I wish it was always so clear to me that I have none. I want to know all the time that I have no righteousness of my own, and I don't want to be setting up my own righteousness against the righteousness that is by faith. Yet, since I am still a sinner, I do. I create these little islands around me. Perhaps it is a religious pretense, some kind of Christian piety, something I hope someone sees in me, something good I do that exalts my name before others, whatever.
I am glad every time I am reminded of how woefully I lack righteousness in myself, righteousness that stands on its own before God. I am glad because then I see all the more clearly the grace of God in providing righteousness in Jesus Christ. I welcome this epiphany. It is a moment of peace when I hit the bottom again. It is a joyful sound when my bones break, and I give up. Strange? No, blessed! It is there that I drop every false pretense, every false piety, every false religious glory I assign to myself. It all melts into nothing, and when there is nothing left in my hands, then I look up again and see Christ enthroned, lifted up, the righteous One, the Mediator, my true and only righteousness.
Oh, Father, let me start each day reminded of the fact that I have no righteousness of my own -that I may renounce every claim and recognize afresh that I truly am dependent upon your grace alone in Christ to be justified and remain yours into glory.