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The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit

which makes men look to themselves for salvation.

Charles Spurgeon

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A cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church

may be far nearer to Hell than a prostitute.

C. S. Lewis

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(This YouTube Video is 2:18 in Length, Below is the Transcript)

The Word of God gives us the understanding of two kinds of righteousness.

The first is self-righteousness and this is simply an attempt to live right or up to God’s standard in the law or the ten commandments without the Holy Spirit.

Now there are two groups of people who fall under this category.

There are those that are not giving their lives to Jesus, they still have that sinful Adamic nature, but try in their own ability or strength to be good people, (as they put it,) so just like the Pharisees. The outside of the cup may look clean but the inside is still dirty, because they still have that same foul Adamic nature.

The second group that falls under this category are those that receive Christ, became born-again, but no longer continue in the Spirit.

So instead of looking onto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, the focus of this group is now on themselves. Christ is of no effect on to them.

They have fallen from grace as they seek to be justified by keeping a set of laws.

So the other kind of righteousness is the true righteousness, which is the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ and His Word.

People who submit to Christ, have the heart of stone or heart of sin removed and a heart of flesh or heart of righteousness given to them by Christ.

Now because they did not earn this righteousness – it’s a free gift from God.

Therefore, they can not boost about the outworking of this kind of righteousness which can be seen in a form of good deeds.

Now they continue to look unto Jesus as they are walking in Spirit and by that the righteous requirements of the law is fulfilled in them.

In summary there is two kinds of righteousness

their self-righteousness is an attempt to live up to God’s standards in the law or the ten commandments without the Holy Spirit.

And then there’s the righteousness of God

Which is the righteous nature of God puts in us as we submit to Jesus which is released as we continue in Spirit.

Self righteousness is described in scriptures as filthy rags

because it cannot accomplish the righteousness of God which will freely receive from Christ and release as we continue on in the Holy Spirit.

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Derek Prince in this 8 minute YouTube teaching addresses how to deal with any “Spiritual Strong Man,” within our lives. In this teaching, his focus is on the Strong Man of Self-Righteousness.

If YouTube does not work you can read the transcript below.

(This YouTube Video 8 minutes in length, Below is the Transcript)

All right, now. I’m coming to the very thing that I wanted to deal with. We’re going to go back to Matthew 12, and I’m going to show you one more verse. And really, all I can do is stimulate your thinking – but that’s a lot. If the church would only start thinking, we’d be undefeatable.

It always impresses me that Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformationby pinning up ninety-some theses. He didn’t pin up the answers, he just got them started thinking. And when they started thinking, things changed, see? It’s important that we learn to think. All right, now we read in Matthew 12 about Jesus’ answer about the two kingdoms.

The next verse is very important, verse 29:

Or else how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods,

unless he first binds the strong man?

Then he will plunder the house.”

This is in connection with the warfare of the kingdoms.

It’s what I call the principle of the strong man.

Jesus pictures a house with a strong man, a despot, a cruel ruler, who has in his house slaves, all sorts of stolen goods.

But he’s got everything under his control and it’s very difficult to go in, and set his slaves free or steal, get back his plunder. If you go in, all the time you’re trying to free his slaves, you’re fighting off the strong man, see? And you may end up wounded.

Jesus says that’s not the logical way to do it.

The logical way is to begin by binding the strong man. Tie him up, put a gag in his mouth; then you can walk in and out at liberty and help yourself to what you need and set his captives free.

This is a spiritual principle.

If you want to be successful in any given situation, you’ve got to discover who is the satanic strong man over the situation. Then you’ve got to bind the strong man,

then you can do what needs to be done in the situation.

But the principle is first bind the strong man then set his captives free.

As I said, Satan’s kingdom descends, from level to level with persons, angelic beings with areas of responsibility. And they come down; the lowest ones are pretty small areas. And generally speaking, you don’t start at the top, you start where you are. And you learn the principles of warfare and then you can move on until you’re dealing with a strong man over a city or even over a nation. But you don’t normally begin there.

So, if you have problems in succeeding in doing the will of God, in breaking through spiritually – maybe in your family, maybe in a business, maybe in a church – and somehow things are not going the way you feel they ought to go, but you don’t understand the problem, my suggestion is in all probability there is a strong man over that situation.

And you will not be really successful until you deal with the strong man.

Now I will speak from experience. I told the other evening that I’m the head of a large family which now has about 120 members. Our family is made up of adopted children. And basically, it’s a good family. We love one another; we’ve stuck together in all sorts of difficult situations. We’re still in contact in relationship right across the world. But, I was aware, well, I have to say it this way. Where I was living after my first wife died before I married Ruth -I was a widower for two and a half years. It’s a tradition in our family that we meet as a family on Christmas Eve, and celebrate. And we meet, of course, in our home normally. At that time I had a big house. So, the day before Christmas Eve I was pondering over, the family coming together. And although we love one another and have basically good relationships, when a lot of the family come together I always felt a certain tension, a certain pressure. Partly I think it was various daughters hoping that I’d take more interest in their children than some other daughter’s children. And I thought to myself, there must be something behind this. I was lying on my back in bed about 11:00 o’clock at night, and I said, “God, what is really behind this?” It was like a kind of gray mist appeared in my room, just below the level of the ceiling. I understood that God was showing me, this is the power, that makes relationships difficult in your family. So I asked God what is it. and He said ‘self-righteousness’.

I pondered a little bit, I thought about my first wife. She was a wonderful Christian, but like many wonderful Christians she was very…concerned to do the right thing and very occupied with doing the right thing. And that’s a step towards self-righteousness. Then I thought about myself and I said it certainly fits me. So I saw that our family was to some degree under the influence of a spirit of self-righteousness, because both my first wife and I were open to it.

You see, the parents in a family should be the spiritual umbrella protecting the family. But if there’s a hole in the umbrella, then things get through that shouldn’t come in, see? So I thought the first thing I do is repent, renounce self-righteousness for myself, because you can’t do much for other people if you have the problem yourself. And I did. And then I said, “God, let that power of self-righteousness over our family be broken in the name of Jesus. ”When we came together the next day it was quite different. Something that had pressured us just wasn’t there. So that’s just one example.

You may have it in a business. You may be a Christian businessman. It may be that you really want to use your finance… and your talents for the Lord. but somehow your business never really prospers the way it should. And just when you’re on the point of breakthrough you get frustrated. I want to suggest to you there’s probably a strong man over your business. I don’t know exactly what it could be, it’s not my job to know. It’s your job to find out. I don’t go around solving everybody’s problems but I try to tell people how to solve their own.

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