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Daily Verse
May 7, 2005 - Trusting But Not Living

“When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.” – Ezekiel 33:13

Israel had the continual problem of establishing stale religion instead of having a vibrant relationship with the Lord. They promoted self-righteous pride in their own works while at the same time becoming so idolatrous that they even sacrificed their children to false gods. These were not real gods, but gods of wood and stone. How could God say He is speaking to the righteous if those who are truly righteous are declared righteous by faith as was the case with Abraham? Surely God was not saying that these were truly righteous men and women, was He?

Do you remember when Jesus was teaching His disciples about the purpose of the Law and how He came not to destroy the Law but fulfill it? The disciples had only one example of righteousness before Jesus came to them. Their examples were those who loved to be called rabbi and sit in the best places in the synagogue. He told them: “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

This must have confused the disciples, considering that the Pharisees were in open hostility to Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees were so pious and they intimidated the disciples at times, but as the disciples would soon find out, even the so-called pious Pharisees wouldn’t have enough righteousness to enter the kingdom of God. The robotic obedience to the law and tradition of man can not save a man. They trusted in their good works and devout lifestyle, but true righteousness is by faith. It is always hard for religious people to come to terms with “faith” because it eliminates pride and self-righteousness.

They were trusting in their own righteousness, but they were not living for God. How many people think they are serving God only to find out that they were working for nothing? Their entire foolish self-righteous adherence to rules and regulations led them to hell nonetheless. We are saved by faith, we live by faith, and the just (righteous) shall live by faith.

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