Do you seek after Holiness or are you Holier-than-thou?
The more self-righteous and legalistic one becomes, the more fearful and unsure he becomes in assurances of his salvation. Is this not so?
Amongst the Pharisaical crowd, the I-am-more-holy-than-you-are crowd, we find a constant “fearful” clinging to of rules and laws. Boundaries must be increasingly hemmed in. The self-ascribed standard (of holiness) must ever rise higher and higher for fear of not measuring up. Why is this?
It is because their “sacrifice” is not enough.
I can bathe my body with lye soap, and my spirit still be filthy. I can put on an expensive new suit, and my inner man still be clothed in rags. I can read aloud from the Bible with perfect enunciation, and still not hear it. Or better yet, I can read 40 chapters a day and never come to grasp its meaning and remain unchanged.
It is this pride and haughtiness that hinders the Spirit of God working in ones heart. It is also idolatry.
How easy it is for men to grow so prideful in their accomplishments, “Look how HOLY I am,” and forget that God is the Righteous One. We can raise the bar all we want- the Jews did it, they added several hundred laws, and thousands of opinions to the five books of Moses.
What did it profit? Nothing.
What harm did it bring? They missed the coming of the Messiah. They lost out on true salvation and rest in Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 23 Jesus responds to the additional laws pronounced upon the people;
23:4 “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
The twenty-third chapter of Matthew is a good place to start to learn what Jesus thinks of legalism and those who practice it. Eight times Jesus says “Woe unto you“, warning the scribes and the Pharisees of the error of this practice.
Seven times we read where Jesus associates the scribes and Pharisees with the word hypocrite. That is precisely what you are when you profess Christ and yet practice legalism.
Salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. In Him alone are we declared righteous. It is the work of God.
Paul put it in perspective when he wrote;
Galatians 3:1-5 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are you made perfect by your flesh?
Holiness or Holier-than thou?