Proverbs 18:17 The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins.
I was listening to a lady on the radio who was complaining that she could not find any peace in her life. She was trying to justify herself by explaining all the sacrifices she was doing for others and still had no genuine peace in her soul. She started sounding like someone with a martyr complex. This is a common complaint among the dissatisfied in this world. What they are saying in their self-righteousness, is a declaration of, “In my own defence I have tried to outweigh the wrongs in my life with a lot of what I consider to be good deeds.”
When we stand before God on that glorious day making an account of our life, the last thing we are going to want to say to God is, “In my own defence, I believe that I earned a place in your glorious kingdom because I outweighed the evil in my life with some good works.” Rom. 3:10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one.” The only plea we are going to have in our so-called defence will be, “I plead the blood of Jesus and receive His righteousness through Christ.”
As the proverb says, the first to speak in court sounds right until the judge of the universe cross-examines your heart. Prov. 18:17 The first to speak in court sounds right—until the cross-examination begins. How have the people of this world become so full of their own conceit that they actually think they can maneuver God out of His salvation plan with personal justifications of self-righteousness? Talk about being deceived and in absolute need of God’s mercy.
A problem arises when God is rejected throughout a person’s life. They live with no authority or righteous king guiding them. They end up doing what is right in their own eyes or what is right according to their own standard. This is not a new problem. Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
A person’s moral code varies depending on what they justify so they can get what they want. Their standard becomes flexible and they end up saying things like, “In this particular situation I can lie and cheat because I desperately need this money.” At the same time, these same people will declare that it is not right for others to steal from them. We can rationalize any sin when desperation is crushing against our evermoving standards of personal moral code.
We need a real standard created by the real God. We desperately need Jehovah-Nissi in our lives. Ex. 17:15 And Moses built an altar and named it, “The LORD Is My Banner.” We need a standard that is so above anything a man can imagine, and that is a righteous God to set the standard of our defence. We need a saviour to save us from ourselves. 2Cor. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
What I have learned over the years as I have walked with the Lord, is that my own defence does not have much going for it. The reality is, all of my defence and righteousness is found in Christ. I am not saved by the good things that I do and I am not damned by the wrong things that I do. I am saved by the blood of Jesus and the finished work of His sacrifice. He has given me His life for mine. The gift of my salvation has allowed me to participate in the good works that are what the Lord says is needed to be done.
So, in my own defence, I have none. However, in my righteousness through Christ, I have a real defence that when the God of the universe cross-examines my heart He will see Jesus alive and reigning supreme throughout my soul. May it be the same for all of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Amen!
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