Those who are truly self-righteous are spiritually blind yet they do not perceive that this is so. Their blindness is deep and humility is something to which they give lip service. These people do not have a true self-knowledge nor do they have a correct knowledge of God.
Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked
Revelation 3:17 (NASB).
Self-Righteousness: the attempt to meet God’s standards based upon one’s own merits.
A thorough study of our Lord’s earthly ministry reveals with certainty the following truth. Our Lord was merciful in every instance to those who were broken, humbled, and spiritually helpless before Him. On the other hand, the proud, the self-righteous, and the self-sufficient He rebuked and shunned, which is thematically summarized for us by James our Lord’s brother in his epistle.
4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:4-10 (NASB)
I pray that you have seen very clearly my brethren that when the Word of God addresses self-righteousness that what is really being examined is a form of pride. What is the opposite of pride? It is, of course, humility. The proud may believe that they are prosperous in God’s economy, but, in fact, they are spiritually blind and, in our Lord’s own words from Revelation 3:17, “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”
Those who are truly self-righteous are spiritually blind yet they do not perceive that this is so. Their blindness is deep and humility is something to which they give lip service. These people do not have a true self-knowledge nor do they have a correct knowledge of God. The humble, on the other hand, are those who have had a true revelation of God and then have meditated or contemplated themselves in that light. Humility, then, is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness. If we take that definition then look at our Lord’s assessment of the Church at Laodicea we see a people much like most professing Christians in our time. Let us look at the letter our Lord dictated to the Apostle John to send to this church.