Ecclesiastes 7:16 Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? (ESV)
That sounds awesome, right? Don’t be overly righteous? I think we all have nailed that down pretty good. Oh, wait – he’s actually talking about something else. What he is saying is that being overly righteous will not give you incredible results. What he is attacking is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is when I have a small view of my own sin and have a bigger view of others sin. Basically I think I’m a good person mainly because I’m not doing any “major” sinning.
While some sin may lead to a different earthly consequence, in light of eternity, all sin is the same. So, we may stretch the truth, but at least we are not killing anyone. At least we behave most of the time, are mostly morally upright people, and we aren’t like the terrible people in this world. We are okay! Except, we aren’t okay.
What we are doing, in essence, is basing our salvation on our good deeds. However, if our good deeds can make us right before God, then the work of the cross was in vain. This is the culture of dogoodism that has overtaken a lot of us. Dogoodism says, “If I just do good things, then God will be pleased with me.” Solomon is saying that doing good works and being self-righteous will end up destroying you.
Isaiah 64:6 says, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” The Bible just said that us batting at 1000 or us being morally upright people is a stench to God. Our salvation is based on what Christ has already done for us, not anything we can do. We must realize that we don’t have to come to God all cleaned up. God loves who we are right now, not who we think we ought to be.
Have you placed your trust in your good works or in the work of the cross of Christ?
“It is easy for the Lord to save a sinner, but it is impossible for a self-righteous man to be saved until he is brought down from his fatal pride.” Charles H. Spurgeon