Food For Thought | Quotes on Self-righteousness

Self-righteousness exclaims, “I will not be saved in God’s way; I will make a new road to heaven; I will not bow before God’s grace; I will not accept the atonement which God has wrought out in the person of Jesus; I will be my own redeemer; I will enter heaven by my own strength, and glorify my own merits.” The Lord is very wroth against self-righteousness. I do not know of anything against which His fury burneth more than against this, because this touches Him in a very tender point, it insults the glory and honor of His Son Jesus Christ.

C. H. Spurgeon
A Jealous God, Sermon 502, March 29, 1863.

Beware of self-righteousness. The black devil of licentiousness destroys his hundreds, but the white devil of self-righteousness destroys his thousands.

C.H. Spurgeon

The saints are sinners still. Our best tears need to be wept over, the strongest faith is mixed with unbelief, our most flaming love is cold compared with what Jesus deserves, and our intensest zeal still lacks the full fervor which the bleeding wounds and pierced heart of the crucified might claim at our hands. Our best things need a sin offering, or they would condemn us.

C.H. Spurgeon

The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.

C.H. Spurgeon

A taste of righteousness can be easily perverted into an overweening sense of self-righteousness and judgmentalism.

Kent Hughes
Disciplines of a Godly Man, Crossway Books, 1991, p. 140.

Like Muslims we assume that God will judge us “on balance.” If our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, we will arrive safely in heaven. But, alas, if our evil deeds outweigh our good ones, we will suffer the wrath of God in hell. We may be “marred” by sin but in no wise devastated by it. We still have the ability to balance our sins with our own righteousness. This is the most monstrous lie of all.

R.C. Sproul
None Righteous, Tabletalk, April 2004, p. 6, Used by Permission.

Human self-righteousness denies the need for the saving, enabling grace of Christ. Human righteousness embraces the cruelest of Satan’s lies, that a person can be righteous by keeping the law. If that were true, there would have been no need for the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

Paul David Tripp
Age of Opportunity, P&R Publishing, 1997, p. 83, Used by Permission.

God is none other than the Savior of our wretchedness. So we can only know God well by knowing our iniquities… Those who have known God without knowing their wretchedness have not glorified Him, but have glorified themselves.

Blaise Pascal

Truly it is evil to be full of faults, but it is a still greater evil to be full of them, and to be unwilling to recognize them.

Blaise Pascal

The very nature of self-righteousness is to justify self and condemn others. In so doing people play God, because they judge themselves on the basis of their own standards and wisdom. Self-righteousness is the worst of sins because it is unbelief. It trusts in self rather than God. It trusts in self to determine what is right and wrong and to determine who does what is right or wrong. Self-righteousness claims to be both lawgiver and judge, prerogatives that belong only to the Lord.

John MacArthur
Matthew 1-7, Moody, 1985, p. 435.

I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility that they are willing in words to debase the creature, and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines, as well as upon good works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature and the riches of free grace.

John Newton

It is easier to cry against one-thousand sins of others than to kill one of your own.

John Flavel

Morality, in and of itself, is a damning thing. Self-righteousness is a damning thing. You’d be better off to be immoral and face the reality of your needs so that you would come to a Savior, than to live under the illusion that because you have a moral code on the outside, all is well on the inside between you and God.

John MacArthur
Reformation vs. Relationship, The article originally appeared ( at © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

If we think we are usually good, then God is usually irrelevant… Such thinking ignores the depths of sin in my own heart, and, in essence, it elevates me so that I am just a mildly flawed imitation of God rather than someone completely dependent on Him.

Edward T. Welch
When People are Big and God is Small, P&R Publishing, 1997, p. 100. Used by Permission.

“Sinner” is a present-tense description of everyone, including those who have put their faith in Christ. Of course, those who have called Jesus “Lord” are justified, meaning that they are no longer guilty. Also, they have been given the Spirit, which makes them slaves to Christ rather than to sin. But we all are sinners. Perfection awaits eternity.

Edward T. Welch
When People are Big and God is Small, P&R Publishing, 1997, p. 150. Used by Permission.

Beware of self-righteousness in every possible shape and form. Some people get as much harm from their “virtues” as others do from their sins.

J.C. Ryle

God sends no one away empty except those who are full of themselves.

D.L. Moody

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