GOD AND THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Romans 3:27-30 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Overall Background: The passage we just read is critical to understand the Book of Romans. Paul says in verse 27, “Where is boasting then? It is excluded.” Meaning: When it comes to the gospel, boasting is not allowed. What is boasting? It means bragging, taking credit for something you have done, being proud in our own goodness. Gospel has no place for boasting. There is nothing good in us that we can offer to God. All we can do is receive the gospel by faith. From start to finish, it is the work of God.

Paul identifies 2 kind of boasters in the first three chapters of Romans.

#1  In chapter 1, we met the first kind of boasters. These are those who rebel against God; they boast against God; they shake their fist towards heaven. God’s wrath is against such rebellious human beings. In His wrath, He has given them over to sexual immorality, loss of sexual identity, and a debased mind. They cannot receive the gospel of God.

Application: Some people when they hear that they say, “I guess God has given me over. I am too far gone. Or, you don’t know what all I have done. God will never forgive me.” Listen: “if you are wondering if you are too far gone, then you are not.” All you have to do is come home. He is waiting with open arms. You are never too far from the grace of God if you are willing to receive it.

#2  Now in chapter 2, we meet the second kind of boasters. This is the more dangerous kind, by the way. This is the self-righteous person. As Paul was laying out God’s wrath against those rebellious pagans who rebelled against God, the Jewish audience was cheering him on. “That’s right Paul. Tell ’em pagans like it is. We have the Law with us.” So in chapter 2 Paul turns his attention to the self-righteous Jewish person and starts a diatribe (an imaginary argument) with them. He tells them that when they puff up their chest and act like they are so much better than the pagans, they are being self-righteous and God does not care one bit about it.

This morning as you hear God’s Word, let the Holy Spirit of God deal with you. If you are a self-righteous person, if you have convinced yourself that you are better than others, and if you have convinced yourself that you are not as bad as so and so, then God’s judgment is upon you. He wants you to stop boasting about your self-righteousness and come to Him in humility. As we walk through this message, examine yourself to see if you are this self-righteous person. If so, then you need to repent.

Paul is going to tell us three things about the Self-Righteous.


Romans 2:1 1Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.Meaning: Paul was not against judging others. I’ve heard people say, “If you judge others, God will judge you.” There is a place to call sin, “sin”; there is a place to call right, “right” and wrong “wrong.” This passage is not against that. What Paul is talking about is judging others while there is sin in our own hearts.

What kinds of sins? Paul gives a long list of 23 specific sins in Romans 1:29-31 29being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;

Now sometimes when a self-righteous person sees a list like this they think – “No, not me. Murder – no; sexual immorality – no way; untrustworthy – never.”

Jesus saw the same attitude among the Pharisees—the religious leaders of the day. These people would look down upon the common people as being sinful and deserving of the wrath of God. He once told them the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector.







Jesus said to them—“Let me apply the Law to your life.”

You have heard it said

But I say to you

  1. You shall not murder
“If you are angry with your brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment.”
     2.  You shall not commit adultery “Look at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart.”
    3.  You shall not swear falsely “Do not swear at all: neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem or by anything else.”

Jesus raised the standard of righteousness for the self-righteous.

Application: It is so easy to find fault in others, isn’t it? It is so easy to look down at other people and try to make ourselves look good. It’s so easy to get the attention off ourselves. Someone once said: “We judge ourselves by our intentions but we judge others by their actions.” Did you see how she was talking? She is so hateful. But when it comes to us – “Look now–I like to tell it like it is.”

But just because you can get louder than the other person, just because you can argue your case better than the other person, and just because you are more creative in hiding your sins than the other person does not mean that God’s standard has changed.

We may have a double standard but God doesn’t.


Romans 2:2-3 2But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Paul tells the self-righteous person that not only God has a standard of righteous but He also has a judgment for the self-righteous. None of us will escape His judgment.

Application: Did you know that even if you skip getting caught by others, God never misses His catch?

There is a story in the Bible about King David – he had an affair with a married woman named Bathsheba. David had many wives (which was wrong as it is) but that was not enough for him. He lured in another man’s wife and got her pregnant but then tried to get that man drunk and trick him into thinking that it was his child. The man, Uriah, was too smart. He refused to go home to his wife. Finally, David got one of his officers to take the man and put him in the front line and when the battle got heavy, he instructed the rest of them to fall back and leave Uriah to die by himself. Sure enough—Uriah was killed. David thought to himself—“It’s all good. I am not that bad of a person. Uriah is just a Hittite, anyways.” He even married Bathsheba and she had the baby. Everything is fine. But listen to 2 Samuel 11:27 “. . . But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” God was angry with David, to say the least. He sent a prophet by the name of Nathan to confront David. He comes and tells him the story of a man who had many herds and flocks. This man had a neighbor who had only one little ewe lamb. One day the wealthy man had a visitor. Instead of taking his own lamb to make a meal, he took the only one that belonged to his neighbor. David became very angry. Listen to his reaction in 2 Samuel 12:5 “So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!” At that point Nathan said, “You are the Man.”

God explained “Freudian projection” 3000 years before Freud. In psychology, projection means “you hate something in someone because secretly you know it is in you and you hate it.” It is so much easier to hate someone else for it than to own up to it that you have the same problem.

But David’s sin did not escape the eyes of God. For one murder, David lost 4 sons: 1. Son of Bathsheba (12:18); 2. Amnon – killed by his brother Absalom (13:28); 3. Absalom was killed in battle (18:14); 4. Adonijah – killed by Solomon (I Kin 2:24-25).

Application: Are your hands clean? Are your hands are stained with innocent blood? Are you an accessory to the shedding of innocent blood?

But there is more here. Look in Romans 2:11-13 11For there is no partiality with God. 12For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. Meaning: You get to pick your jury. If you hide behind the Law all your life and pretend to be self-righteous and judge other people with that Law, God will judge YOU by the same Law.

Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

Application: If God were to judge you by the standard you use against others, will you make it?


Romans 3:20-26  20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

So how did Moses and David and Esther and the rest make it? Not by keeping the Law; not by trying to live a clean life before God; not by making yourself better than others. So how is it?

The passage we are about to read has been called the “very heart of the book of Romans.” Dr. Alva J. McClain, The Gospel of God’s Grace.

Romans 3:21-24  21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, (The OT talks about it but it cannot offer it.) 22even the righteousness of God (God says, “I am going to put you on my account), through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;  23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  24being justified freely by His gracethrough the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,

The word PROPITIATION = Jesus took my penalty of sin by shedding His blood to satisfy God’s wrath.

Romans 3:27-30 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Jesus – crucified is the only way.

Self Righteousness is Subtle.

Daily we have to reminded that we have been “justified freely by His grace.”

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