True Righteousness

The Pharisees were the people’s party when it came to everyday religion. In one sense they were spiritual champions. They stood up to the bullies in the Sanhedrin and opposed the liberal Sadducees for disregarding the law. However they were also spiritually intimidating. They burdened the people with guilt over not tithing or observing the ritual laws. Whenever rules are put in place to govern the flesh, there is one of two reactions. The first is pride. This is evident among those who dig being told what to do. The other is despair, or more often disgust. The unrighteous are good at identifying hypocrites because they have so much in common. If a person is incapable of obeying the dictates of rule mongers, they tend to throw away the whole system. In reality the impulse to go rouge was always there, and the guilt of failing to live up to others expectations becomes a catalyst for escape. For Paul the answer is faith in a righteousness that was given to him by someone else (Philippians 3:9). The glorious doctrine of imputed righteousness releases us from the pressure to live up to the expectations of others. It can’t be overvalued.

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