Let’s be real, self-righteousness is a problem in the church. When we are self-righteous, it is very dangerous for others–and it is detrimental for ourselves. Jon and Justin talk about the blindness of self-righteousness, the harm that comes from it, and, of course, the sufficiency of Christ.
Semper Reformanda Podcast: Jon and Justin speak to people who are in the “cage stage” of coming out of pietism. In short, calm down, trust Christ, love others, and pursue obedience. The guys also consider the posture we want to have in engaging others. In all of this, it’s important to remember that it is the law–not the gospel–that is a hammer.
Book Recommendation: “The Whole Christ” by Sinclair Ferguson
Jon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. Today on Theocast, we are going to be discussing self-righteousness. Let’s be real: it has really been affecting the church and those around the church. This is a problem that goes all the way back to Philippians 3 when Paul talks about his own self-righteousness. We hope it’s a helpful conversation. Justin and I are both encouraged by it, and we hope you are, too. Stay tuned.
There’s so many angles to this, but today we’re talking about all the different negative dangers, weaponization of self-righteousness. It is a tricky topic because self-righteousness is not this glaring rock that’s written in the middle of the road that everybody can see that they need to drive around. Often, self-righteousness is that big pothole we don’t see and we fall right into it—and the damage can be quite significant.
Justin Perdue: I might even say it’s the black ice of the Christian life: you don’t see it, you hit it, and it derails the train.
I might go and lead with this, Jon, and then I want you to continue setting up the topic: I think that self-righteousness is the billboard sin of the church that we need to always have in the crosshairs. We’ve talked about before how it seems that in many church contexts today, or in evangelicalism today, nominalism is in the crosshairs. In my opinion, biblically, self-righteousness is in the crosshairs within the minds of the apostles because they are trying to blow up any notion of Jesus-plus theology. And we’re gonna talk about the posture of Christ here in a minute, in terms of his mission on earth and who he often was seeking to unsettle.
Jon Moffitt: One of the goals that we have here at Theocast is to always be taking the Bible—Scripture—and the themes of the Bible and make them, I would say, more practical in our everyday conversations.
Justin Perdue: Or at least relatable.
Jon Moffitt: So as I preach and as Justin preaches, we often get together on Wednesday morning and we talk about what we preached about this last week, and the excitement about the text, and what we learned, and some of the nuances of the texts—and that definitely is what happened today—but we have been trying to explain throughout our time on Theocast the nuance of what Christ and, we think, the New Testament, and I’ll just say all of Scripture points out glaringly. (1) self-righteousness exists in everyone; (2) is danger; (3) the effects of what it causes upon us.
I’m currently in John 19, and so I’ll just use this as an example, kind of a springboard. In John 19,. Jesus has officially declared it is finished. In verse 31, John at multiple times will, I think—through the power of the Spirit and God’s wisdom—point out the irony of the self-righteous Pharisees and the Jews of how they are going to crucify an innocent man and yet be sure not to defile themselves. A couple of examples of this is Jesus says it is finished, and as soon as it’s done—It says that in verse 31—the Jews go to Pilate and ask him to take the men off of the cross. According to Deuteronomy, anytime a criminal was put or hung on a tree, they were not to be left there after sundown because it would defile the land. So they didn’t want to go into the Passover defiling the land. It also says in John 18 that they didn’t want to go into Pilate’s courthouse because they too would defile themselves by going in there so that they would not be able to partake in Passover.
John mentioned this. They’re taking a man whom Pilate says is not guilty and yet they crucify him anyways. They want to make sure that they don’t go into his courthouse. They want to make sure that they take them down off the cross so they are righteous enough to receive Passover. And yet they miss the irony that they killed the actual embodiment of righteousness. So the self-righteousness of the Pharisees ends up murdering the actual righteousness of those who were standing before him. And I love how scripture points out, how (1) I think blinding, and (2) dangerous self-righteous can be.
Another example of this is the apostle Paul himself even explains how he, himself, as a Pharisee was blinded by his own self-righteousness and even was persecuting and killing Christians. And he himself could not see it until, of course, the Holy Spirit had to come and confront him on the road to Damascus. These are just two examples. You have the log in your eye, splinter—there are so many examples. James is another example of this. That’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Justin Perdue: A little more Bible backfill. I think the illustration of the apostle Paul is really good where he was convinced at one point in his life that his zeal for God was being expressed in an appropriate way by persecuting the church. And so he would have seen that as a good thing—and even a meritorious thing—that he was so zealous for God that he was persecuting these blasphemers known as Christians.
Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 7:1 and following—is where he says, “Don’t judge others, lest you be judged yourselves.” and the point of that passage is that you will be held. He goes on to say in verse two that the standard that you use to judge others is the same standard that will be used against you. He’s pointing out the blindness of people: you have this log in your eye and you presume then to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. What’s the point of all that? The point of all that is you have this standard that you use to judge other people with and you yourself have not even met that standard, and thereby condemn yourself. This is the language of Paul in Romans 2; he says the exact same thing. You can’t even meet your own standard, and then he takes it further, and it was basically let alone God’s standard. So when you have your own standard that you can’t meet that you judge others with, how much more so have you not met God’s standard? And it’s the doers of the law who will be righteous and justified, not those who just hear it only.
I think what I’m struck by, in terms of the blindness piece, is like you were illustrating with the Jews around the time of Passover and the crucifixion of Christ. They are so consumed with adhering to the letter of the law as they understood it that they completely miss the point of the law wholesale. And they are so blinded by their zeal to abide by even this hedge that they have placed around the law—to do the right things and to avoid doing the wrong things—that they have missed the entire message of God from the beginning, which was a plan of redemption, the plan to redeem God’s people through the Messiah in terms of how He would do that.
It’s wild how we are blinded by misplaced zeal to keep commandments or to avoid doing things that are against the commandments and miss the point of the entire thing. Your confidence is completely misplaced because what you’re doing is, in some way, shape, or form, in varying degrees, admittedly, but still to some extent you are placing confidence in what you are doing and you think that it’s appropriate to do that—and it leads to all kinds of problems. You become incredibly dangerous to other Christians and you will ultimately ruin yourself, which we’ll get to later.
Let’s talk a little bit about just the danger of self-righteousness maybe and how it ends up being a situation where we cut other people to pieces—and there’s blindness in doing that.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. We weaponize it is what we do. There’s a great book by a professor by the name of Dru Johnson, and it’s called Human Rites: The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments. It’s an interesting book because it does deal with the psychology of humanity, of how we have certain habits and rituals that we create and we don’t even realize how we are programmed to do things. For instance, there was a study done that when you step into an elevator and to close the elevator door, most of the time, those buttons are a placebo. They actually aren’t even connected. People keep hitting it until it actually closes. We have a lot of habits and rituals we do this with.
From the beginning, I’m going to say, I believe in religion, habits, and rituals—the Scripture, true religion, points us to Christ. Christians are called to create good habits. We have rituals that we participate in every Sunday.
Justin Perdue: Two things on that. One, we believe in corporate worship. We’re instructed to do it in Scripture, but in terms of a discipline of our religion, for example, is to show up to church on Sunday and worship with the saints. But what is corporate worship about if it’s done rightly? It’s about Christ—and we’re being pointed to him. The sacraments, like you said, you want to talk about rituals. The Lord has sanctified two of them and has connected them to Himself, but again, those rightly understood and administered are about what? They’re about Christ, and they’re about our union with Christ. I think that’s an important distinction to make. We are not against ritual. We are not against habits. We are not against religion. We’re actually in favor of all of them. And true religion is about Jesus Christ.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. You can look at the apostle Paul or the Pharisees throughout all of the accounts of Christ, but specifically in John 19, since this is where I was, they were considering themselves to be right in the eyes of God, even upholding justice for God because how dare this man claim to be God? So they’re going to crucify him for that. They missed the sign for the substance so they embraced the sign, which is the ritual of cleanliness for the sake of Passover. They missed that for the actual sign. The Lamb.
Justin Perdue: They’re wigging out about the sign itself and the 17 different ways that it needs to be observed that they miss what the sign was about in the first place, who was standing quite literally right in front of them.
Jon Moffitt: And they would make accusations to Christ that he’s a drunkard, he’s a sinner, he hangs out with sinners, he spends time with them.
Justin Perdue: “If he were a prophet, he wouldn’t have anything to do with this woman because he would know that she’s a prostitute.”
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. So they look at their own obedience to their rituals, which some of them were right, a lot of them were added upon. Christ was being accused of breaking the law for healing on the Sabbath, which is not something that was instituted by God, by his Father.
The point of all of this is that these are examples. As you move into the New Testament, you can see where this attitude is not just of those of the Pharisees before Christ on the cross, but it ends up transitioning even into 1 Corinthians. There’s a whole chapter on love where we are projecting how righteous we are and yet we aren’t doing things out of love. And Paul says if anything is not done out of love, it’s of no use, and these were projecting the righteousness of those who look, look how spiritual and because of whatever gifts that they have. And I would even dare say James is a great example of this, where they were creating a caste system of righteousness: those who had wealth were considered more righteous and are shown favoritism, versus those who were over lower status. When I mean weaponizing is that we end up using our own capacities to do habits and rituals to say, “Because I do these, God is more favorable of me.” Or, “I am clearly more righteous, and so I am going to look down upon, or even use my own words to cut those who aren’t living up to the same level which I am capable of doing.”
Justin Perdue: Totally. And the absurdity of that self-righteous posture, where you bludgeon other people with your own righteousness effectively because you are convinced that you have the high ground. You’re looking down on other people who are not as disciplined or not as holy as you perceive yourself to be. And then yeah, your posture toward them is a number of things: maybe condescending, exacting, threatening. It’s certainly not gentle. It’s certainly not humble. It’s certainly not gracious. But the absurdity of all that is that you, in trusting to some degree in your own righteousness, you are exactly the kind of person that Christ would have set himself over and against during his ministry on earth.
Now don’t misunderstand me. All of us are self-righteous in ways that we don’t see and Christ died for our self-righteousness. He saves us from our own foolishness and trusting ourselves more than we should. None of us ever completely are devoid of any sense of self-righteousness so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.
Jon Moffitt: Can I give an illustration for that, Justin? The moment you see some kind of heinous crime on the news and you’re appalled by it; not by the crime, but almost a comparison of, “I can’t believe…” That is self-righteousness at that moment. You have to understand when Paul says, “If it’s not by God’s grace, I am that person.” When you see real grace and mercy, and you understand your standing before God as only merciful and full of grace, that’s where you can see the heart of it.
Justin and I are highly appalled by sin. There’s a difference being appalled by the sin and casting judgment upon the sinner.
Justin Perdue: Just to finish my thought. This is the stupidity of self-righteousness: we tend to trust in what we’re doing or not doing, and we tend to be like the Pharisee in Luke 18, who is trusting even in his own God-wrought righteousness. He acknowledges that God has done it. “Thank you that I’m not like other men.” So we can’t just say, “Oh, well, you know, it’s God’s grace in my life.” As though that just solves the problem. The issue is you do not trust in yourself in any way. Even if it’s the work of the Holy Spirit in you—that sounds scandalous to say—even if God has made you more righteous in terms of your life than you once were, that is not what you trust in as the ground of your standing before the Lord. You trust in Christ only. That’s the point of Luke 18; the one who is trusting in his own God-wrought righteousness is not justified, but the one who knows that he’s a sinner and is desperate for the mercy of God is justified. And so the stupidity and the craziness of self-righteousness is that whenever we prop ourselves up and trust in things that we’re doing, and trust in our own righteousness, we are acting like the people that Jesus set himself against in his earthly ministry. Because what did Jesus do over and over and over again?
You already mentioned that the Jews crucified Jesus because he was a blasphemer. I think one of the other reasons, it becomes very clear in the gospels, that they want to kill him is that they hate him because he constantly explodes their own notions of their righteousness—and he makes it very clear because they’re trusting in these things. This is what they understand righteous living to be, and Christ constantly sets the grenade on the table and pulls the pin. And it’s like, “We got to get rid of this guy because he can’t keep saying these things.” You gave the illustration of the Sabbath where they would constantly try to trap him; he heals a man on the Sabbath and it’s breaking the law because of the hedge they had put around the Sabbath day. He looks at them and he basically says, “Which one of you, if you even had an animal that was caught in a trap, wouldn’t go get it?” Of course this is permissible. How insane is this in many different ways?
Last thing I’ll say about this: it’s very clear when you read the gospels and you observe the posture of Christ with different groups of people that whenever he is dealing with people who are aware of their sin and know that they’re not righteous, he is gentle, tender, and compassionate, and he forgives their sins. Whenever he deals with people who are trusting in themselves that they’re righteous, or think they can achieve righteousness, he crushes them with the law. And he sets himself against that kind of thinking. And so the craziness of self-righteousness is that it is the exact opposite of what Christ came to exhort us to. He came to exhort us to come to the end of yourself. You don’t have what it takes and you need him. This was the message that he periled it over and over again, and what he demonstrates in his posture over and over again.
Jon Moffitt: A good friend of mine, pastor, and planter Patrick Crandall—he’s going to be planting a church here in about a month. We were talking about this at lunch and he said to me, “We would rather have the credit than the gift.” That’s what self-righteousness produces. We want the credit before the eyes of man than we do the gift before our Father. That’s how insane it is. We want to prove we are worthy of it. Think of it this way: when the prodigal came home, what did the Father not let him do? He would not let him have any credit at all.
Justin Perdue: Exactly. Because the prodigal son is convinced that he’s going to come back as a slave.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. Here’s how the conversation goes in my mind: he comes up and he embraces him, and the son starts talking. The father goes, “Hold one minute. Hey, get the fatted calf!” Then he turns back to the son and says, “Okay. What was that, son?” And he just starts talking again, “Father, I didn’t know….” And the father interrupts again and says, “Hold on one second. And the robe!” “Okay, well, dad, I wanted to be a…” “And the ring!”
Justin Perdue: Same way, brother. I agree. In the text you can feel it too. The prodigal son already got the pitch prepared, and he’s probably rehearsing it over and over again as he’s making his way home. And then what does he do? He sees his dad, his dad runs to him, and the first thing the son says is, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.” And before he can even get to the whole business about serving his father as a slave… “I’m going to somehow make it up to you, dad. You don’t even have to treat me as a son anymore.” The father, like you’re saying, interrupts him: “Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put rings on his hands and shoes on his feet. Kill the fattened calf. Let’s have a party because my son is found. We think in terms of merit.
Jon Moffitt: Here’s what’s hard: in his conscience, it’d be easier for the son if the father would have allowed him to work it off. It’s harder for the sinner to accept full forgiveness, and that’s what’s so hard about that story. We want to show God we mean business and God goes, “No, there’s nothing left. There is no such thing as penance. You do not pay me back. You do not earn it. You do not establish it. Forgiveness is a gift and it always is a gift.” And that’s really hard for a self-righteous person to accept.
Justin Perdue: The fact that absolution—being absolved of our guilt and being forgiven of our sins—is something that makes people very uncomfortable. When we start heralding on the basis of Scripture, when we start heralding that you’re forgiven and you are absolved, people immediately rise up. And I’m talking about people who love God. People rise up and immediately get very concerned. ” Brother, you might need to qualify that because you’re being a little reckless with, you know, forgiveness and absolution here.” Biblically, no, because in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven and we are absolved and it’s done. And like you said, it’s a gift. There’s nothing that we can contribute to that equation.
Lest you think that we’re overstating it, I think my last line of defense in this whole conversation about self-righteousness and putting no confidence in the flesh is Philippians 3, where the apostle Paul is over-the-top clear… Paul really does come in from the top turnbuckle—and I mean elbow drop—on any notion of our own merit and righteousness in Philippians 3:1-11, where he talks about how we are the circumcision who put no confidence in the flesh, Philippians 3:3, and then goes on to unpack what he means. And he talks about how if there was anybody who has reason to put confidence in the flesh, he has more reasons to be confident—and he lists seven things about his former life to illustrate the fact that he was a rockstar. Even amongst people like the Pharisees, who were really good at doing the right stuff, he was elite and was crushing it in terms of a life of holiness. And then what’s scandalous about Philippians 3 is how Paul then goes on to say that all of the things that he had, he counts them as loss. And then he’s going to go on to say, “But anything that I had that was gained, I counted as loss. And anything that I had, I consider it rubbish.” He’s not there renouncing the bad things about himself. He’s not renouncing his possessions either like some kind of easier, good life. It’s very clear that he is renouncing his virtue and he’s renouncing his own righteousness—and he says that. “I do not want it to have a righteousness of my own, but what I want and need is the righteousness of Christ that is received by faith.” It’s an incredible text.
Jon Moffitt: And this really transitions to the second part. I think there are two types of self-righteousness. There are those who weaponize it: they become so confident in their ability to perform certain actions or not to perform certain sins that they can quickly stand up on the stage and point their finger out at everyone and basically judge them. Then there’s the quiet self-righteous person who I think is a lot more introspective. They’re more concerned about themselves than they are other people. They’re too afraid to look out to others. They are those who have a super tender conscience where they’re always examining the house that they have built, that they live in, and they’re wondering if the waves are going to crash it down—to even use Jesus’ illustration where they built it on sand. And Paul looks back at the house he built that was murdered by the sand. He looks at it and he goes, “This entire structure, which is better than anybody’s structure that’s ever been built in the history of man, is smashed. It is of no value.”
You have to understand when Justin and I are talking about this, we are talking about it in relation to your standing before God as His child, either as justified or condemned as unrighteous or righteous. This is what we’re talking about. We cannot collapse sanctification, the process by which God is changing us, and our justification, that which we are declared right in the eyes of God. People often hear what we’re saying and they’re saying we are deemphasizing the necessity for obedience in the Christian’s life—and we are saying, yes, if it’s in relation to your standing before God, which is what Paul is talking about. I would even say in John 19, Jesus is always dealing with people saying, “Come to me, not to the law. Come to me, not your own works.” And we refuse to do that as it relates to our right standing before the Father.
Justin Perdue: Two comments: first is self-righteousness is foolish and it is dangerous because it will destroy you in terms of your standing before the Lord, because you cannot stand on your own merit to any degree. I had a conversation with somebody about this recently: you’re never going to have perfect faith, you’re never going to have a moment where there’s just not even a hint of self-righteousness in your mind, but the question for all of us to answer is, “Am I trusting in Christ or something else?” At the heart of it, at the root of the matter, just answer that question. Am I banking on Jesus or my own record? And for the saints, it’s very clear in our lives that we’re banking on Christ and he’s got us and he’s provided righteousness for us. So self-righteousness is dangerous for you because it will destroy you and it’s a sinking sand foundation, but then it’s also dangerous because you tend to bludgeon other people to death. If you are confident in your own righteousness, you then are very exacting, condescending, and threatening oftentimes toward your brothers and sisters in the faith, and you end up harming them rather than pulling them up and doing them good. So that’s one thought.
The other thought is related to what you just said about the whole accusations that are sometimes thrown at us about how we are, in one sense, deemphasizing the importance of pursuing righteousness and even putting in effort in the Christian life—to which I would say is absurd. We are not saying that we don’t try in the Christian life; what we are telling people to do is to stop trying to save yourself, stop trying to do stuff so that you’ll be justified, stop trying to do stuff so that you are going to prove yourself or keep yourself in good standing before the Lord. Don’t try to do stuff like that. Trust Christ.
Jon Moffitt: That is Philippians 3.
Justin Perdue: Right. Trust Christ for that and trust Jesus only for that. And then knowing that Christ has you, and that he’s your righteousness and your peace before God now and forever, try. By all means, we try to love each other, encourage each other, and even flee from sin and pursue obedience.
Maybe this is setting up a little bit of something, Jon, that I know we want to talk about over in the Semper Reformanda podcast. We can talk there very pointedly to those who are part of Semper Reformanda about this: it’s not good when you encounter these categories of pietism—this hyper-introspective focus on your affections and obedience and performance, and you start to learn that there’s something else out there that is a confessional perspective that’s objective and it’s about Christ. One of the things that people can do in the early stages of that transition is you begin to overreact, you swing on the pendulum way too far to the other side, and any talk of obedience is now legalism. Don’t do that. That’s foolish and unhelpful. We’ll talk about that more in a little bit.
Jon Moffitt: For the last few minutes, Justin, one thing I think would be helpful in understanding these two categories: one, if we’re not careful, self-righteousness turns into a weapon against others.
Justin Perdue: Hurts other people.
Jon Moffitt: Self-righteousness can create a false sense of security because you feel safe until your life comes crumbling down, which it will. When you finally see the weight of the law and that law just murders your house, boom, it’s done. And you realize that your entire system that you created, where you feel safe in, is no longer safe.
According to both the Westminster and the London Baptist Confession on the Providence of God, 5.5…
Justin Perdue: What a great paragraph.
Jon Moffitt: He says that often God allows believers to fall under long periods of not only sin, but sustained sin, to further show them their need of dependence upon Him to humble them. And that’s what happens to those who build houses of self-righteousness. You will see God collapse those because it is not helpful or beneficial for you to be trusting in your own righteousness.
For the last few minutes, this is a question that I think you and I have received and have been receiving for years: is God displeased with our disobedience?
Justin Perdue: Can I please jump in very quickly on the thing that you just said? I want to encourage those out there who battle a self-righteous posture and you’re even semi-aware of it. Take heart in what Jon was just referencing. For us, for our confession, it’s the 1689 London Baptist Confession, chapter five, paragraph five: because you’re His, and because He loves you, God’s going to crush yourself righteousness one way or the other—and often that’s painful. Because that is a piece of our sanctification and growth, to have our self-righteousness taken from us so that we will trust all the more in Christ only, and we will be humbled, and we will see our need of God. God only does that because He loves us and because we’re His; it’s not because He’s angry and it’s not because we’re not His. Don’t wig about that and trust the Lord. He’s going to do His good work in your life, including taking your self-righteousness and rending that from your hands, which needs to happen.
Your question: is God displeased with us?
Jon Moffitt: We’re probably only going to be able to answer for a couple of minutes, but I want to set it up. Just quickly we can answer it here, and we’ll have to answer it in the next podcast fully.
Justin Perdue: I’m just going to go ahead and do something that’s a little bit more of an indirect answer to your question that I hope will expose what we’re trying to get at. To even ask that question, “Is God displeased with me when I don’t…?” You’re then assuming that there must have been, at least some point in your life, where God would look at your performance and based upon that alone would be pleased. And that’s precarious.
Jon Moffitt: What does God require? Biblically speaking, God requires perfection. We grade on a curve. You and I, we do this to each other: you and I have never treated each other perfectly, but we understand that our nature is sinful, and so we give each other grace.
Justin Perdue: We grade on a curve or we introduce things into the text that isn’t in the text. For example, we say, “Well, you need to be willing to do this.” Excuse me. It’s not what it says.
Jon Moffitt: No. So to answer your question of whether God is ever displeased with you, then my answer would be if we’re talking about your performance, then yes; every moment of every day, He is utterly displeased with you.
But what does Paul say? We are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. So our sin is covered by his blood and our obedience is clothed with his righteousness. So, no, when the Father looks at me as His child, my performance does not cause our Father to lean one direction or the other. We just did a podcast on this on the impassibility of God.
Justin Perdue: And also, we are united to Christ and we are quite literally hidden in him. When the Father looks upon us, He sees the merit and righteousness and holiness of His Son. And when it comes to our own performance, it never could be meritorious in God’s sight. That’s a crazy notion.
The last thing I’ll say about this is people may raise Ephesians 4 where we’re told not to grieve the Holy Spirit. I know we’ve mentioned this a few times lately and we’ll mention it again because we need to understand what that’s about, and that is a passage that’s about the unity of the church, and tearing other people to pieces with our words and thereby destroying the unity of the church that the Holy Spirit himself has given it. And so that needs to be understood in a corporate way, that the Holy Spirit is grieved when the church is divided rather than being unified around Christ. That’s a corporate reality and that is serious. Basically, the takeaway from that is to be unified in the church around the Lord Jesus Christ and love each other.
Jon Moffitt: And I will add to that, Justin. To your argument, if you read Ephesians 4:4 and following, one spirit, one body…
Justin Perdue: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.
Jon Moffitt: Right. God always accepts your obedience on the merits of Christ. You’ve never loved God, and you’ve never loved your neighbor with all your heart. So let’s just get that out of the way. No one is accepted by their own merits; it’s always the merits of Christ. Now, we’re going to get into this in Semper Reformanda, but I will say it here to get us started. Your good works absolutely matter—not to your standing before God, but they matter to the mission that God has given to the church and you as an individual. This is why 2 Peter 1 says if you aren’t showing godliness, kindness, forbearance, and meekness, you’re ineffective. It says you’re ineffective, meaning that you’re not using the gifts that have been given to you. He says, when you’re not doing this, you forgot that you’ve been cleansed. Paul says it this way: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called.”
Justin Perdue: Right. He’s already talked about our union with Christ and our identity that we have in him, and he also says put off the old man and put on the new man. That’s the same exhortation. Remember who you are, remember what Christ has done, and live in a way commensurate with the gospel.
Jon Moffitt: That’s right. So your obedience, as fallible as it may be, is still necessary—and God, in His graciousness and kindness, uses it to advance His kingdom.
Justin Perdue: And He’s the one who produces it in the first place.
Jon Moffitt: Yeah. He who began a good work in you will complete it.
Justin Perdue: Walk in the good works that God has already prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
Jon Moffitt: Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is He who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
So these are all things that we’re going to talk about in Semper Reformanda. This is brand new. We just launched it. Justin is exploding. We’re excited. So just for those of you that are new to the podcast, we started a brand new podcast called Semper Reformanda. For those of you that don’t know what that means, it’s Latin for “always reforming”. We’re excited about taking the Reformation forward throughout the world. We have members and listeners that are all over. We have several hundred people who have joined us, and we are now doing a special podcast for them to which they can also then gather in local communities and align to discuss this and further learn and be encouraged by these truths.
If you want to learn more about that, if you want to hear the podcast, and you want to join a local online group, you can go to theocast.org to learn more about that. We will see you all next week.