Our Righteousness Is As Filthy Rags

(God's Immesurable Love)

By Clovis Miller

Isa. 64:6

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities as the wind, have taken us away."

Why is this so? Because no matter how much we try to live uprightly before God, we are still tainted with the effects of sin in our mortal bodies. Attempting to live uprightly before Him, does not take away the stain of our sins. Rather, the stain of our sins, pollutes everything we do, no matter how righteous, or upright, we set our minds to be. It is not until we accept the atoning work of Jesus, which can cleanse our souls from sin's stain, that our deeds can actually be regarded as truly righteous before God. The body in which our souls dwells however, remains subject to the effects of sinful impulses and thoughts; and it is against these things that our redeemed spirit, or soul, still has to contend. This situation will continue with us as long as we dwell in these mortal bodies. Only when our mortal bodies have been redeemed (i.e. when this mortal shall have put on immortality), then the corrupting influence of sin will have been forever removed from us (I Cor. 15:53-55). So we may understand, that while our redemption is not yet completed, the day is approaching when we will be fully delivered from the effects and presence of sin, that we might forever live in the presence of a righteous and good God; who loves those who follow Him, and live in hope of the day when His righteousness will be the same righteousness that is in their own hearts.

God calls us unto Himself, that we should repent of our sins (that is to say, that we should identify sin, as sin, and refuse to practice it anymore). He calls us unto Himself, that we might receive forgiveness of those same past sins. He promises forgiveness to those who commit themselves to ceasing from the practice of sin: and promises forgiveness, even if we, in weakness or ignorance, commit a sin; as long as we come to Him by confession, and ask for His forgiveness (I John 1:9). We should never take that gift as a license to be slothful in our lives: being aware, that because of the weakness of our mortality, unconfessed sin can take root in us and lead us onto a path whereon the spirit of rebellion can be reborn in our hearts. It's the very reason that we should examine our lives daily to see if we are indeed living according to the will of God. He requires that we be honest before Him about our lives. Since nothing can be hidden from Him: honesty is certainly the best policy. God has no desire to punish us for our sin (Ezekiel. 18:23); but rather that we would depart from it, and come to the loving righteousness, which is found only in Him.

There is a point at which the willful practice of a sin becomes coercive. Freewill is eventually forfeited by the continuous submission to the enticements of a sin, or sins. The more we submit ourselves to temptation, the more power is given to the object of the enticement. There is a "breakover point" at which a sin becomes more powerful than our freewill. Choice is replaced by compulsion, and freewill is surrendered to enslavement. Temptation is the mechanism used by the enemy to combat and subdue the spirit, or soul of a person. Gaining control of our will is a priority of the wicked spirits who are in rebellion against God. By attacking and subdueing us, who are created in the image of God, they are actually attacking God Himself. Temptaion should be seen as evil to its core. There is no instance, wherein temptation should be viewed as providing the solution for dealing with our feelings or thoughts; or as a way of enhancing our lives. It only serves to fortify the position of the enemy who are in open and declared rebellion against God. There should not only be in us a hatred towards sin; but also a hatred, of even being tempted to sin. Our sins caused the Lord Jesus to be put to death, so how can we who love Him practice, or otherwise give ascent to anything that led to that event occuring?

Probably the most difficult thing for a practicing sinner to understand, or acknowledge, is that they are indeed enslaved, or in bondage to a sin or sins. Once we lose control of our will, denial of the truth ("I can quit anytime I choose to do so") often sets in. A person may then attempt to justify, or at least minimize, the importance of any sinful act being practiced. Whenever our freewill is surrendered, sin begins on the path of mastering our lives. It is imperative that we be honest with ourselves and see our condition as it truly is. It is possible for a person to be in bondage to one sin and not to another. Even so, bondage is bondage, no matter to what extent it exist. The true grace of God can be found for an honest heart which cries out to Him for help. God understands our lives, and how we get entangled by sin. Nothing is a mystery or surprise to Him. He loves us so much that He has made a way to escape such a destructive life; and He will not deny any person who will truthfully humble themself before Him.


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