Some of Jesus' followers fit into this category. This warning is for us.
What is righteousness?
What it means biblically is "Being justified" not being morally right.
The word that is used in the Bible is Sadaqa which means "the righteousness of grace given solely by God."
“My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” Micah 6:3-5
"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector." Luke 18:10
This a parable of comparisons. There were 2 men. The Pharisee was held up in society as the righteous one. The tax collectors were considered the lowest of the low in Society. They were Jewish but worked for the Romans, the enemy. Both men were Jewish. Both men went to worship.
"The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’" Luke 18:11-12
Both men separated themselves off from others. The pharisee stood apart because he didn't want to touch an unclean person. He was following his rules.
Do we do this? We'd say no. How many of us think of our lives as set on a scale? Like we are better or worse than others? Do we think of our salvation this way? There's nothing we can put on the "good" side of the scale without Christ.
The tax collector separated himself by staying back, just over the threshhold, standing away from everyone else because he didn't feel worthy.
2 times a day were open prayer time at the temple -- Dawn and 3 p.m.
Prayer should be: confession of sins; thanks for bounty received; and petition for help for yourself and others. This pharisee's "prayer" was spoken out loud. He saw the Law as a garden that needed protecting from others. The law required fasting only once on the annual day of atonement. Pharisees made the law that people should fast two days before and after the day of Atonement. THIS Pharisee said he fasted 2 days a week! The Law said the tithe was to be from food, from things watched over; things that grew from the ground. THIS Pharisee said he tithes everything. This "prayer" was all about him.
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Luke 18:13
The tax collector came humbly. He beat his breast. The only other time in scripture we are told people were beating their breasts was when Jesus was crucified and the sky became dark and there was an earthquake. Also, usually it was just women who beat their breast in prayer.
Jesus is comparing these two men: A and B.
Do we come proud or humble to God?
"God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Here mercy means "Atone for me, a sinner."
It's not about the Law. It's about relationship.
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." James 2:10
On a daily basis we all fall short. Paul talks about this. He was a pharisee of pharisees. He was on fire for the Law. He had everything "right" until he met Jesus.
"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." Philippians 3:8-9
God's righteousness is the only righteousness we will ever have.
Keep this in mind when we pray.
Confession is hard. It means we take personal responsibility. We must grieve over our own sin.
“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” Mark 8:15
This is a warning from Jesus to us.
Don't put yourself above anyone. Without Jesus we are nothing. There's no one who knows it all. Rip off the bandaid daily! Acknowledge the blood of Christ. Bring all to Jesus.