Monday, January 11, 2010

Is it okay to acknowledge our righteous behavior?

We are sinners. We mess up. Even as believers, we are not yet completely free from sin. Our confirmation in righteousness doesn’t happen this side of heaven.

Even John Wesley, who believed that perfection was possible here on earth, never claimed that he himself had obtained it.

Humility is always appropriate. Acknowledge your weakness, your sinfulness. Confess your sins.

But what about when you do what is right? 1 John 2:29 says, “you know that everyone who does what is right is born of him.” I think one of the functions of this verse is to assure believers that they are born of God. How do they know they’re born of God? Because they are doing what is right.

John also writes, "This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did" (1 Jn 2:5-6). So to have some assurance that we are in Christ, we must see in ourselves that we are walking as Jesus did.

Some people are so accustomed to dancing the humble hop that noticing right behavior in their lives doesn’t feel right.

The truth is we should be growing in righteousness, right behavior. Obedience should be evident in our lives, not only to those around us, but to us as well.

Now we need to guard against pride and recognize right behavior is the result of the Spirit’s work in our lives (not our own independent efforts). Increasing obedience shouldn’t produce pride, but it should produce gratitude and joy at what Christ is accomplishing in our lives.

Even that is a humble response. “I was never that patient in a traffic jam before Christ saved me. But this time, I didn’t even think to swear. Jesus really is changing my heart! Thank you, Lord.”

The bottom line is we are to have a sober opinion of ourselves (Rom 12:3); that is, we are to see the truth about ourselves, both our sin and our good behavior, confessing the former and praising the Lord for his work in producing the latter.

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