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Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14




1.  Righteous: “innocent, faultless, guiltless”.

2.  Since "all have sinned", none are righteous in the sense of sinless perfection, Rom. 3:9-10, 23.

3.  The gospel of Christ brings us to faith that is imputed for righteousness, Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-23; 4:3-8; Phil. 3:9.

4.  The sin of self-righteousness (S-R) is a perpetual temptation to the children of God, Deut. 9:3-6.

5.  Trouble is: Self-righteous people do not perceive themselves to be so! Lk. 18:9-14



  A.  “I am Right”! Lk. 18:9

    1.  “I am virtuous, innocent, faultless, and guiltless.”

      a.  One can be “innocent” by faith in Christ, Rom. 1:17.

      b.  Sin of self-righteousness is one convinces himself he is righteous – but is not!

    2.  Problem: Trust in oneself that they are right. Convinced, persuaded, assured, confident that they are right before God and men...

      a.  Not on the basis of God-defined righteousness (imputed by faith, Rom. 4:5) found in His word, but...

      b.  On the basis of self: His character – his actions – his estimation of himself.



  A.  It Produces Self-Deception, Lk. 18:9; cf. Isa. 65:2-7; cf. Jas. 1:26.

  B.  It Causes Unjust Comparisons and Unrighteous Judgments of Others, Isa. 65:5.

    1.  Despises others, Lk. 18:9.

    2.  Unjust, foolish, fleshly judgments, Lk. 18:11-12; Jas. 4:11-12; 2 Cor. 10:12.

    3.  The self-righteous compare themselves to someone like Jesus and those who are following Him, cf. Phil. 3:17-19.

  C.  It Results in Isolation, Lk. 18:11.

    1.  The self-righteous man is alone as he prays “with himself”.

    2.  Self-righteous is not empathetic toward others and their plight; it is irritated and condemning of the sins of others because it prevents one from seeing his/her own sin-dilemma and need for mercy. It shows no mercy, Matt. 5:7 (Lk. 18:13).

    3.  Who wants to be around that kind of a person?!

    4.  Self-righteous person lacks the ability to encourage others -- Self-righteous person doesn’t do that. Gal. 6:1-3

  D.  It Results in Condemnation, Lk. 18:13-14.



  A.  Be Conscious of Our Own Unworthiness, Lk. 18:13.

    1.  Stand “afar off” in reverence before God, cf. Isa. 64:5-7.

    2.  Penitent confession/recognition of our sins.

      a.  He would not raise his eyes to heaven, Psa. 40:11-12.

      b.  Contrite heart before God, Psa. 34:18; 51:17.

      c.  Anguish and sorrow over sin, cf. Lk. 23:48.

    3.  Understand that you do not earn God’s mercy, Lk. 18:13 (Eph. 2:8-9).

      a.  Does not remove God’s conditions of mercy, Lk. 17:11-14.

      b.  Likewise, we do not merit our salvation by meeting God’s conditions of mercy, Titus 3:4-5, 7.

  B.  Be Humble before God and toward Men, Lk. 18:14.

    1.  Instead of saying, “I am right”, say, “I am a sinner”! Lk. 18:13

    2.  Instead of trying to impression others – impress God! Matt. 6:1-18

      a.  When you are charitable (6:1-4), when you pray (6:5-8) and when you dedicate yourself to spiritual work (6:16-18).

      b.  Do not seek the place of honor, Lk. 14:7-11; cf. 16:15.

      c.  Do not seek repayment for good that you do others, Lk. 14:12-14.

  C.  Do not put Confidence in the Flesh, Phil. 3:3-11.

    1.  Example of Paul: In Christ there is a radically different value system of what it means to be righteous.

    2.  Paul did not rely on his own righteousness (law-keeping), since it showed him to be a sinner (Rom. 7:9-12).

    3.  Paul relied on “the righteousness which is from God by faith” – obtained “through faith in Christ”, Phil. 3:9.

    4.  When our life is about Jesus and not ourselves we win the battle against self-righteousness! Gal. 2:20; 1 Jno. 5:3-4 (Faith)



1.  The sad fact is the self-righteous person does not see himself as self-righteous. Lk. 18:11

2.  Only by the self-examination that comes from sincere faith can we see self-righteous in ourselves and then remove it by repentance and God’s grace in Christ.

3.  Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and cast all your cares upon Him. 1 Pet. 5:5-7



By: Joe R. Price

Posted: September 25, 2013