Scott Tibbs
blog post
May 29th, 2005

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Would you wear filthy rags to a formal dinner?

When I was in high school, the Holy Spirit convicted my heart about sharing the Gospel with others. I suppressed this conviction. I thought that I could not share the Gospel because I was a hypocrite in the way I lived my life. How can one proclaim to be a Christian and still struggle with sin?

My problem is that I was trying to wear filthy rags to a formal dinner. I have no righteousness of my own; my works could never measure up to the standards in God's Word. But as someone who has accepted Jesus as my savior, I am clothed in the beautiful garment of Christ's righteousness.

The Bible tells us that "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." (Romans 3:10-11) But the Bible also tells us that our faith in Jesus Christ is our righteousness. "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Romans 4:2-3)

Are you trying to look good in filthy rags? Or do you put on the beautiful garment of God's grace? Are you trying to justify yourself with your own works, when you should be leaning only on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? The desire to justify ourselves is inherent in all human beings, and is so subtle we may not even realize what we are doing. After all, it is not my fault that the print job did not get fully cancelled. I went to two different places on the computer to make sure it was not going to be printing anything else. The printer is defective, because it certainly cannot be something I did or did not do.

As long as you live a works-based life, you cannot truly experience God's power. (Note that this is not a license to sin. Romans 6:1-2 says: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?") A perfect, sinless life is a standard no one can live up to. Only one person has ever accomplished that, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. He had the advantage of being the human incarnation of the living God. Once we accept our flaws and failures, we are free to serve God and trust Him with everything.