Trusting in the wrong righteousness

Some people try to get to heaven on their own by being a good person. by doing good deeds, by being a righteous person. The only righteousness that is real is what the Lord Jesus gives us.

Look at the new US currency. The color of money used to be green, but this has some red and blue in it now. The US mint put some things in this bill so you would know it was genuine. They installed security features.  One is this magnetic strip, another is the watermark of the person’s face, and another is this two-tone ink on the number twenty. It is green at this angle, and gold at another angle. If you present this as payment, anyone who receives it can tell it is real. Some people try to cheat and make fake money. The money they make on their own is called a counterfeit. It’s not genuine or valid.

That reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 10:1-4

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Paul wanted his own people, the Israelites, to be saved from their sins. He said they were eager to please God but they did not understand what God wanted. The Israelites thought if they kept following all of God’s laws and commands that it would be enough to please God. They thought if they were good and did nice things that would be all that was necessary to get to heaven. That was the wrong kind of righteousness. It was a fake. The only righteousness that is real is what the Lord Jesus gives us. Paul made it clear that we need God’s righteousness. That means we must be willing to accept God’s goodness, not try to be good on our own.  How can we do that? We can accept what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus completed the work of the law there. That is the real, genuine righteousness that God accepts. Jesus died as a sacrifice for all the bad things we have done. As an old hymn says, Jesus paid it all! We gave God our sin, and God gave us forgiveness and His goodness. That does not seem like a fair trade, but God loves us so much he was willing to do that. 

Think about John 3:16.  Whosoever includes you. Whosoever includes me. God is so good to us. God wants us to be good, but He does not want us to try to get to heaven by trusting our own goodness to save us. He has provided the way: His Son Jesus.

Are you trusting in your righteousness for Heaven, or are you trusting in Christ’s righteousness? If you are trusting in yours, you are trusting in the wrong righteousness.