Spring/Summer 2016 Issue

The following content is part of the Spring/Summer 2016 Issue. Articles that are in this issue contain information about the biblical truth about self-righteousness, learn how false preachers are twisting grace, find out if it is right for women to speak, teach, or preach in the church, learn what it means to be saved in childbearing, and much more.


full course

Let’s Be Clear: What is Self-Righteousness?

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Many Christians think self-righteousness means that someone is highly religious.  However, God doesn’t hate pure religion or a strict manner of holy doctrine nor does the Bible tell us to despise it.  The Bible gives us four, main examples of self-righteousness.

Four Main Examples of Self-righteousness:

1. The Unsaved Who Works To Get To Heaven 

This is a person who thinks their good works are earning their way to heaven.  They do not believe in Jesus as Savior and have not claimed the Christian faith.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the Door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” ~John 10:1 KJV …

“As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one.” ~Romans 3:10-12 KJV

The point of the entire passage that references the above scripture is that all people are in need of the Savior and can only be justified by establishing the law through faith in Christ.

2. People in Christianity Who Question and Doubt God While Displaying Their Good Works Before The Lord

This is a saved person who questions what God allows during times of testing and gives Him all the reasons why their good works should be considered because they shouldn’t have to endure such trials.  First, this means that they are condemning God by questioning His authority.  Job entered into this questioning during his test of faith.

Doth not He see my ways, and count all my steps? ~Job 31:4 KJV [Job questions God and then refers to his good works as if God should spare him from trials.]

In the book of Job, chapters 29-31 (KJV) specifically dive into his questioning of God. God then answers Job’s questioning and shuns the ignorance of his friends in chapter 38.  The biggest self-righteous issue here was a lack of faith due to the questioning and doubting.  Your works must connect to faith because faith without works is dead.  There is nothing wrong with having good works.  Good works are required after receiving Christ, but faith must be the active component.  (Just to be clear, for those adamantly against “works” due to false doctrines in Christianity, works do not give you salvation, but after you obtain salvation freely by grace, your good works are a testimonial requirement which activates and proves faith.) Good works are necessary for Christians.

[15] Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. [16] They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. ~Titus 1:15-16 KJV

Therefore, don’t confuse this with those who name their good works to ask for God’s release.  These people accept His will and do not doubt His judgments.  Read more about the words of these people in Psalm 119.

3. People in Christianity Who Are Not Seeing Christ’s Atonement Or Replacements In The Old Covenant And Who Think Their Religious Ceremony Makes Them Righteous1

This is a Christian, or Jew— some of whom were Messianic— who embrace circumcision as a necessity to be saved; the New Covenant replacement is that Christ is our circumcision made without hands.  Throughout the New Testament, circumcision is often mentioned as a self-righteous act.  Therefore, when you hear that self-righteousness was about doing the “works” of the Old Law, examine the scriptures.  You will see that the Word speaks specifically of circumcision, which the Jews tended to believe. Also, the Galatians were tedious about times and seasons “observing days, months, and years,” which is a statement about their lack of faith.  It was as if they leaned on the Jewish celebrations such as the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, the year of Jubilee, etc. to justify that they were righteous. 2

Nothing is wrong with keeping the celebrations of, or in respect to, the Lord3, but don’t inadvertently think that your celebration makes you righteous.  In contrast, there are those who take a holy day and make it a worldly day by taking Christmas or Easter and supporting Santa and the Bunny rather than upholding the truth of those holidays.4   Reject the ways of the world.

[2] Thus saith the Lord , Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. [3] For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. [4] They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. ~Jeremiah 10:2-4 KJV 

4. Hypocrites

Hypocrites are people in Christianity who do the opposite of what they teach and who create their own doctrines that go against the Word or cut the Word out.  Similarly, Jewish people who know the living God, but do hypocritical things going against God’s law.

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. ~Matthew 23:3 KJV

[8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. [9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. ~Matthew 15:8-9 KJV

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. ~Philippians 3:2 KJV

Also, in the book of Luke, before Jesus spoke the following parable, He asked, “… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” The parable speaks of the example of those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.  Notice that the Pharisee was so prideful and arrogant that he completely misses the point of humility and makes himself a hypocrite:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week.  I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” ~Luke 18: 9-14 KJV

Repentance begins with humility and a Christian must be humble.  Notice that this Jewish man thanked God, but then he pridefully looked down on the repentant and began to list his accomplishments to God.  Remember, as I said above, works are an absolute necessity for proof of faith and God absolutely makes us righteous and better, but when we pridefully start thinking that we are righteous because of our work, we then become self-righteous.


Self-righteousness is:

  • An unsaved person who is working for salvation without Christ. (e.g. The Apostle Paul’s visit to the people of Asia and Lystra who worshipped false gods.)
  • A saved person in Christ, doubting and questioning God and displaying your works to Him to be considered rather than having faith through your works in your sufferings. (e.g. Job’s test of faith.)
  • A saved person in Christ, not seeing Christ’s atonement and replacements from the old covenant by carefully observing the ceremonial practice of circumcision.   (e.g. The Apostle Peter showed his hypocrisy in Galatians when he sat with the circumcised Messianic Jews to separate himself as if the uncircumcised Gentile Christians were unclean.) Or thinking that celebrating a holy day makes you righteous.
  • Being a hypocrite in Christianity or Judaism who say, but don’t do or follow the holy commands. Returning to worldliness. (e.g. Jesus rebuked hypocrites for their hypocrisy.)
  • A saved person in Christianity who diligently produces good works, but forgets that Christ is our righteousness– not our works, though they are important.5

I hope you can see that self-righteousness is not about “being religious.”  It is not about being a strict person who keeps the holy doctrine, which somehow makes you an automatic hypocrite these days because one of the things people have been taught is that self-righteousness is “carefully observing the law” rather than “carefully observing the former atonement works of the law.”  Pure religion and holy doctrine are good things.

When Christians start thinking that these are bad things, they mislead others, become worldly, and then cause divisions from those who are truly upholding righteousness.  Then, the truth is, they are not really Christians at all.  This is the danger of false doctrines.

Self-righteousness is about lacking faith in Christ, replacing His atonement with the former atonement works of the law, being a hypocrite in the faith, or forgetting our righteousness is Christ.  Notice that all of these examples that God gives us point to a lack of faith.

Are you self-righteous? Read this clear, biblical explanation of self-righteousness. Tags: #JesusSaves #Church #Christianity Click To Tweet Cite this article: Please update the Accessed or Retrieved date (September 13, 2015).

MLAChicagoAPAAbout the AuthorMore Posts by This Author
“Let’s Be Clear: What is Self-righteousness?” AWS Magazine Online. Ed. Bobbie Chariot. Savior Sanity LLC., 1 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Sept. 2015. <https://awomansaved.com/lets-be-clear-what-is-self-righteousness/>.
“Let’s Be Clear: What is Self-righteousness?” AWS Magazine Online. March 1, 2016. Accessed September 13, 2015. https://awomansaved.com/lets-be-clear-what-is-self-righteousness/.
Chariot, B. (Ed.). (2016, March 1). Let’s Be Clear: What is Self-righteousness? Retrieved September 13, 2015, from https://awomansaved.com/lets-be-clear-what-is-self-righteousness/.

Thank you for reading!

Bobbie Chariot

Bio: Founding Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.