Holier Than Thou

Isaiah 65:5
“Who say, ‘Keep to yourself,
Do not come near me,
For I am holier than you!'”

“Holier than thou” is defined by a modern dictionary as, “having a superior attitude or view of one’s self.” It is most commonly used as an accusation against a Christian who calls out sinful behavior. Have you ever been accused of being ‘holier than thou’? If you have, it was probably because you attempted to share Christ with someone. This verse is often coupled with Jesus’ command not to judge lest we be judged, and is used as a defense mechanism by those who are involved in ungodly practices. I think it is worth noting, this statement was actually first used by unbelievers who claimed they were holy enough on their own, and did not need a savior. In fact, anyone who refuses Christ and the cross, is essentially claiming to be ‘holier than thou’.

The fact is, the cross declares, universally, that all of mankind is not holy on their own. As Jesus pleaded with God in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39), we realize salvation is not possible apart from the cross. It is there, and there alone, where sin can be pardoned. If we do not see our need for Christ as our Savior, we are confused about who God is, and who we are. If we truly examined the God of Scripture, we would find He is holy and just, and must judge sin. If we truly examine ourselves, we will find that we are sinners in need of salvation.

Instead of ignoring sin and thinking you are fine the way you are, take your sin before the cross and allow Jesus to wash you and make you new.

Pastor Jim

 

You Must Be This Tall

Psalm 71:19
“Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?”

We have four boys who are separated by only five years. When they were little, we, like so many others families, spent a lot of our time visiting amusement parks. As the older ones grew, they were attracted to the bigger rides, and their younger brother wanted to do whatever they did. The problem was, many of the rides had a standard. If you were not a certain height, you could not ride. At times, this created quite a controversy. We tried everything to make him just a little taller, we spiked his hair, we bought shoes called “Heelies”, that had a wheel in the back, and provided a couple extra inches to his height. However, time and time again, when we reached the entrance, he was excluded. He simply did not measure up.

Just like the amusement park rides, heaven has a standard for entrance. That standard is not height, growth, accomplishment or good deeds; the standard is righteousness. But not just any righteousness; we must have the righteousness of Christ. In Matthew 5, Jesus explained that the Law of God is not merely an external thing, but can be broken with thought, as well as action.  He declared, we must be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). It is no wonder the Psalmist declares, “Your righteousness, O God, is very high.” The righteousness of Christ is actually so high it can never be reached by human achievement. Isaiah declared, “. . . we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). In other words, our very best moral and spiritual accomplishments will never be enough to meet the standard of entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Unfortunately, many of us, failing to realize that we will never attain perfection on our own, keep trying to “make themselves just a little taller.” Paul was like that. He considered himself to be a righteous man, and his accomplishments worthy of heaven, that is, until he met Christ. When that happened, he declared that his desire was,

“. . . not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”   Philippians 3:9

When we realize our own achievements will not gain us access to God, and instead, we come to Him through faith in Christ, we experience a great exchange. Our sins are placed on Him, and His righteousness is given to us. Paul put it like this,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

Have you stopped imagining that you are good enough for heaven? Have you stopped spiking your hair and wearing “Heelies,” thinking you can trick God into letting you in? Have you come to God through faith in Christ and received His righteousness, in place of your sin? If not, now is the time. Pray with me. “Lord, I recognize I am a sinner, and You are the Savior. I ask you to forgive me of my sin, and fill me with Your righteousness.”

If you made that decision, you have become a child of God. Take a moment and let us know so we can encourage you to follow Christ. Contact us at church@ccvb.net

Pastor Jim