Ecclesiastes advises us not to be too righteous (Ecc.7:16). What do you make out of that? Righteousness is a good thing, isn’t it? Of course, it is. Righteousness by God’s grace is the best thing ever. But this verse doesn’t talk about that kind of righteousness but unhealthy kind. Yes, there is such a thing. Self-righteousness is ugly.
Be not [morbidly exacting and externally] righteous overmuch, neither strive to make yourself [pretentiously appear] overwise—why should you [get puffed up and] destroy yourself [with presumptuous self-sufficiency]? (Ecc. 7:16, AMPc, emphasis added)
The Classic Amplified Bible points out that it talks about self-righteousness. And it makes sense. When we try to be good on our own, we overlook God’s grace. We destroy ourselves by self-sufficiency. Because we are to be made righteousness by God’s grace, not by our own efforts. So we are told not to become too righteous on our own so we would not need Jesus anymore. Instead, we are told to lean on Christ and his sufficiency.
[Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.] (Gal. 2:21, AMPC)
If Christ has redeemed us, we should not go back into living under the law but live under the gospel. We are not supposed to try to earn our way to heaven. Instead, we should rest in God’s grace. And let God change us according to his will.
Righteousness is a beautiful thing but self-righteousness is ugly. Also, righteousness is Christ-likeness but self-righteousness is selfishness. And righteousness is God-focused but self-righteousness is self-focused. You see the difference. It’s time to choose your side.
Forgive us for any self-righteousness we entertain.
We love you and your amazing grace.
Help us to live and breath and celebrate it,
every day of our lives.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you try to be self-sufficient? Does leaning on Christ come naturally to you? Do you think self-righteousness is ugly?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you learn to celebrate the grace of God and revel in it every day of your life.
*[As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses toBiblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].