Self-Righteousness or Saving Grace
There are times, in Scripture, when someone has come to Jesus and asked, “What do I do to obtain eternal life?” They’re asking, “What works can I do to inherit eternal life?” No one can obtain eternal life by their own doing, it is the gift from God, not a result of works (Ephesians 2:8,9).
In Luke 18:18-30, the rich ruler came to Jesus saying, “. . . Good Master (Teacher) what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” His response, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” This man was not recognizing that Jesus was God, only that He was a “Good Teacher.” Jesus told him to keep the commandments. This meant that the rich ruler must keep all of the commandments perfectly. If he were to break one, he would be breaking all of them (James 2:10). He tells Jesus of his self-righteousness and declares before God Himself he has kept all the commandments from his youth. He doesn’t think that he is a sinner and in need of God’s salvation. He is moral and believes he has done all things without flaw. Despite his self-righteous bragging, he walks away in sadness not knowing true saving grace.
“Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:26-27). We can’t save ourselves no matter what we do. It is impossible for man to be saved through himself. It’s only possible with God, who gives us eternal life through the power of the gospel.
Salvation is not for the dedicated, or those who have kept the whole Law (impossible) but for those who see themselves as dead in their trespasses and sins and then brought to life. They have believed the gospel, the finished work of Christ! The gospel is so important to teach and preach because it is the power of God that brings Jew and Gentile to Christ (Romans 1:16).
Lord, may I never be ashamed of the Gospel.