Charles Stanley (November-20-2020) Daily Devotion: Our Righteousness.
Ephesians 2:1-10 - 1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Anyone who thinks of himself as a pretty good person ought to think again. Ephesians 2:1 says we come into the world spiritually dead—ruled by Satan, his world system, and our own sin nature. From the divine perspective, we are deserving of punishment.
Meanwhile, God is so pure and holy that He is separated from all sin. He cannot look upon sin with any favor or approval (Hab. 1:13 - Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?). Everything He does is pure and right, and by comparison, even mankind’s righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6 NIV). Yet, even though we have nothing of value to offer, the Lord wants us for His own and works to draw us close to Himself.
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we are made spiritually alive in Him, and all our sins are forgiven. What a striking contrast between what we were and who we now are in the Lord! But this change has nothing to do with how good we’ve been. Even the faith with which we respond to the Savior comes from God. We can never make ourselves righteous; it’s all a gift from Him. And once He declares us justified, we will never be pronounced guilty again.