Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Righteousness Is Like Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

It is that time of the year when house cleaning takes place. My wife was washing windows and I was cleaning screens – trying to get some airflow during the recent three days of warmth and sunshine (we had the screens out for the winter). I need to clean out the garage again. My wife likes a clean garage. Argue as I might that a garage is not meant to be clean – she won’t buy it. We have a friend – her name is Nancy – and her garage was always perfectly ordered. My father-in-law’s garage too (that is where Carolyn got the idea of a clean garage I guess – you know – where there are outlines on the wall for EVERYTHING!).

When I clean out my garage – I always come across dirty rags. I use them for cleaning up most anything and at times they are not thrown away quickly enough for sure. I found one recently that was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc. Whenever I pick up dirty – filthy rags – today’s passage comes to mind.

I am convinced that some of us believe that our sins are not as bad as our neighbor’s sins. Some might think that because they go to church – because they may give support to the ministry of the church (time, talent, money, prayers) – they are not as bad as others.

This line of thinking only works if we are judged on some scale dear readers. It only works if we somehow need to fall in the top 50% (top 50% equals those with less sin) of sinners to qualify for heaven or blessing. As today’s passage came to mind – all our righteous acts are like filthy rags – I realized that my good deeds – my righteous acts – the things that I might think put me in the top 50% – are still far from what God wants and expects from me. I am in need of God’s grace.

As I thought about this – the following story from Christ came to mind. I mentioned this story in the sermon Sunday.

Luke 18:9-14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Lord – make me more like the Tax Collector – who knew his sins were many and that he stood in the need of mercy – of God’s grace – rather than somehow thinking that my sins are less than someone else’s.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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April 17, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I love this passage in Luke. So many great principles!

    Like

    Comment by Matthew Winters (The Comeback Pastor) | April 17, 2018 | Reply


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