Isaiah 64:6; Matthew 23:33
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We are all naturally self-righteous. It is the family disease of the children of Adam.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Ever since man became a sinner he has been self-righteous.
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): That household god―a man’s own self.
C. H. SPURGEON: Self-righteousness is born with us, and there is perhaps no sin which has so much vitality in it as the sin of righteous self.
J. C. RYLE: The true cure for self-righteousness is self-knowledge.
MATTHEW MEAD (1629-1699): The sinner must see the worthlessness and vileness of his own righteousness―before he can be saved by Christ’s righteousness.
FRANCES BEVAN (1827-1909): James Hervey was first led into a clearer knowledge of Christ when talking to a ploughman, with whom he was walking after the plough. “It is a hard thing to deny sinful self,” said Hervey, thinking he might instruct the ploughman a little. “It is harder to deny righteous self, sir,” said the ploughman. And these few words were blessed by God to open Hervey’s eyes more fully. He had seen the worthlessness of sinful self, [but] he now saw that before God righteous self is worthless too, and Christ alone the One with whom God is or can be satisfied.
HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): This is God’s answer to all our self-righteous pleas in vindication of our own worthiness or goodness: “Ye have shed the blood of My Son.”
C. H. SPURGEON: “Well,” says one, “this is a sermon well adapted to self-righteous persons, but I am not one.” Then what are you, sir? Are you a believer in Christ? “I cannot say I am, sir.” Why are you not, then? “Well, I would be, but I am afraid I may not believe in Christ.” You are self-righteous, sir. God commands you to believe in Christ, and you say you are not fit. Now what does this mean but that you are wanting to make yourself fit, and this after all is the spirit of self-righteousness; you are so proud that you will not take Christ unless you think you can bring something to Him—that is it.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): So subtle is self that scarcely anyone is aware of its presence.
C. H. SPURGEON: “Ah! no,” says one poor broken-hearted soul, “I do not think that is fair with me, for I do feel as if I would give anything, if I might hope to be saved; but oh, I am such a wretch! I am such a wretch! I cannot believe.” Now, that after all is self-righteousness. Christ bids you to trust Him. You say, “No, I will not trust thee, Christ, because I am such-an-one.” So, then, you are wanting to make yourself somebody, and then Jesus Christ shall do the rest. It is the same spirit of self-righteousness only in another garb. “Ah!” saith one, “but if I did but feel my need enough―then I think I would trust Christ.” Self-righteousness again―you want your sense of need to save you.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The heart of a man has so many recesses of vanity, and so many retreats of falsehood, and is so enveloped with fraudulent hypocrisy, that it frequently deceives even himself.
C. H. SPURGEON: The man who clings to his own righteousness is like a man who grasps a millstone to prevent himself from sinking in the flood…Let me just utter a solemn sentence which you may [chew on] at your leisure. If you trust to your faith and to your repentance, you will be as much lost as if you trusted to your good works, or trusted to your sins. The ground of your salvation is not faith, but Christ; it is not repentance, but Christ. If I trust my trust of Christ, I am lost. My business is to trust Christ; to rest on Him; to depend, not on what the Spirit has done in me, but what Christ did for me, when He did hang upon the tree.
RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): If you build upon yourself your edifice will be a mere ruin.
THOMAS ADAMS (1583-1656): Self-righteousness is the devil’s masterpiece.
C. H. SPURGEON: Oh! Spirit of God, give faith this morning. Win us all from self; knit us all to Christ!