Facing Setbacks {and More on Self-righteousness}

I’ve been noticing that every time I post, this would be shared on Facebook a fair number of times, ever since I joined that social network. I didn’t really know where they were coming from, but it sure made me glad for the more it is shared, the more people are reached. That is, until I wrote this. It was shared only 3 times on FB and received 2 comments so far. I couldn’t really understand it. But the topic was about not being humble enough to receive the true Gospel of salvation and relying on one’s own righteousness.

It was saddening to know readers didn’t like it, but honestly, I don’t regret what I had written. I wasn’t called to write to please people and become popular. I was called to share the truth of the Word, my testimonies and life lessons to people to please God. In this endeavor, I could easily be tempted to take it personally and get hurt, that’s why there are two things that I remember to do: look up and look in. I look unto Jesus who has saved and called me. I am not my own. I’m bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Cor. 7:23). I look to Him for light and wisdom, for direction and — much-needed encouragement. Then, I look deep inside. I search for real motives. I probe and examine what’s in there and correct what needs correction, guided by the Word and the Holy Spirit. That’s how I’m held together.

And, I need to talk further about self-righteousness as one of the reasons why some people do not receive the true Gospel of salvation. It is brought about by lack of knowledge as much as it is pride in the heart. Most of the people I’ve been talking to these past years say that they believe in God and they are not committing a grave sin (then go on to enumerate their self-righteousnesses) and that’s that. It is like saying, “I don’t need to be born of the Spirit because I have not committed any grave sin. I don’t steal. I don’t kill…” Basically, the real reason for this is lack of knowledge of the truth. They cling to the belief that if a person is good (that is, based on the world’s standards), he or she will go to heaven. This is the exact opposite of grace.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph. 2:8)

Cornelius was a God-fearing man and he did many good deeds, but still, he was called by God to hear the Gospel of salvation and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. So also, our unsaved loved ones and friends need to hear this, if only they would listen and receive it, just as Cornelius and his whole household received it and were saved. (See Acts 10).

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23, emphasis added)

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Rom. 5:12, emphasis added)

Until one admits that one is sinful and that he or she needs the Lord Jesus to save him or her – and this is humility – one will not be saved and receive the Holy Spirit, and one will not and cannot live and experience a new life.

I was talking to our new maid (she comes from our hometown and she knew me), sharing with her our story of salvation. Then I mentioned the church we had known while growing up and she said excitedly, “There, anything goes! All kinds of sinners and sinful acts are found there!” Then she laughed robustly. But sadly, what she said is true. This woman knows nothing about the Word, but she knows that what’s being done in that church is far from the teachings of the Lord. There is a lot of brokenness in their midst, yet, their hearts and consciences may have been too hardened to care, let alone feel the pain.

One may attend church religiously all the days of one’s life, yet, never learns the truth, never knows nor experiences the Spirit, and is never truly liberated.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hos. 4:6)

This is truly a deplorable situation, so we continue to pray and not relent.

My gratitude list:

  • My Tim’s healing from his cough that was asthma-like.
  • The Holy Spirit’s guidance: to forget all ugliness (hurtful words, confusion, dismay) and remember only God’s goodness and enduring mercies.
  • For a heart that humbles down and willing to learn and grow.
  • For new mornings, new mercies and new beginnings!
  • For love that hopes, believes and perseveres.
  • An afternoon in the garden photographing the aftermath of a downpour.

4 comments on “Facing Setbacks {and More on Self-righteousness}

  1. Ah, Rina, it is true. All that God requires of us is to see Him, and thus ourselves, for what He and we truly are. Then it all comes–the humbling, the love, the salvation, the life that leads to holiness. So easy, so difficult, but so wonderful.

  2. Wow…humility is such a hard thing, isn’t it?! And submitting to the FULL Lordship of Jesus, allowing Him to prune, strip and rebuild our lives according to His plan, rather than according to how spiritual we want to look, is at the heart of our faith. Continuing to walk in sin while claiming faith is a very dangerous place to be! Thanks for sharing this post this week. Excellent!

  3. Charlotte says:

    All have sinned. If we could be good enough to merit God’s favor Jesus would not have needed to come to earth and die for us. I think today’s society that teaches people to like themselves so much that it has convinced many that they are good enough and don’t need a savior.

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