Quotes from "Death by Love" on Righteousness

I recently finished reading the book, "Death by Love: Letters from the Cross" written by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. Each chapter addresses a person and includes details of their life stories. Driscoll then writes each a letter, as their pastor, applying the cross to their individual lives. Each chapter is powerful and I was brought to tears again and again. The book covers the sins we commit against others and the struggle of having been greatly sinned against (as victims of others). I found the book to be especially powerful in applying the cross to the latter. And I would recommend the book to anyone who has suffered greatly at the hands of another. Justice will come through Jesus Christ, whether through repentance or in facing God on Judgment Day.

The following quotes are taken from Chapter Four, which addresses self-righteousness and the gift of righteousness that is through faith in the person of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend this entire book and would like to share a few quotes from this chapter...

"...you have made your idolatry into a religion, that, although you call it Christian, is the exact opposite of the gospel of grace."

"...because, as Jesus said, religion focuses almost entirely on the external, visible life of a person and overlooks the internal, invisible life of the heart where motives lie, how one appears on the outside before people is far more important to the religious person than how one appears on the inside before God...On the other hand, the gospel is concerned first with the state of our internal self. Colossians 3:5 is incredibly helpful on this point, saying, 'Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.' Practically, if the gospel is your guiding principle rather than religion, you will not labor so hard to appear as a godly and righteous man on the outside but will humbly confess your sin and live in repentance. First you will be changed on the inside, which will enable you to live a new life on the outside."

"...because religion is about what we do, the end result is that we lack assurance regarding our standing before God. When asked if you are certain that your sins were forgiven at Jesus' cross and that your eternal life is secure, you weakly replied, 'I hope so.' You are uncertain because if your standing before God is based on your life and good works, then you can never be certain that you have done enough to please God. You thus have no assurance that if you sin tomorrow you will not undo all that you have already done in an effort to make God save you. This kind of false gospel is a demonic cruelty that robs you of the joy that is to be yours through the cross."

"The gospel tells us that because our standing before God is contingent on Jesus alone, we can know with assurance that we are secure as redeemed people. First John 5:11-14 says it plainly: 'And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him.' The gospel says that if you believe in the person of Jesus and his work on the cross, you can know with assurance that your standing before God is secure and therefore live in the joy of that gift."

"...religion simply does not work, because it results in either pride or despair depending on if we think we have done well or poorly in earning our salvation through moral conduct and religious devotion. You have made a list in your mind of what it means to be a good person whom God will love. You have made it your life's ambition, through being rigorously organized and self-disciplined, to make God love you by being a 'good' person who does good religious and moral duties as judged solely by external appearances. Because you feel you have done a good job being a moral and religious person, you are now an arrogantly proud man who has little compassion for people who openly struggle with sin...The hard truth is that pride is the worst sin of all..."

"...the desire underlying your pursuit of religion is in fact a noble one...you simply want righteousness. But you have sinfully sought it by the power of your own self-righteousness and not the cross of Jesus, which enables gift righteousness."

"The Bible repeatedly says that God is righteous in everything he does, and that there is no righteous God but him alone (Ps. 11:7; Isa. 45:21; Dan. 9:14)..."

"Because we were created as God's image bearers made for righteousness, we continue to year for righteousness. Yet, because we are sinners, we pursue it through self-righteousness. Romans 10:3 says that religious people, 'being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own...did not submit to God's righteousness.'"

"Much of this religious pursuit of self-righteousness is through our own attempts to live by God's laws in addition to our own, just as you have done. Regarding such vain attempts at self-righteousness, Jesus said that 'unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven' (Matt. 5:20). In the history of the world, it is arguable that no one has been more religiously devoted than the Pharisees who, for example, actually tithed out of their spice rack in an effort to be certain that they gave God a tenth of literally all they had. Our attempts at self-righteousness are as repugnant to our holy and righteous God as giving a bloody tampon to someone as a birthday present (Isa. 64:6)."

"The good news of the gospel is Jesus Christ, not self..."

"...this gift of righteousness...it is through faith, not rule keeping..."

(Read Genesis 15:6, Romans 3:21-22, Romans 4:4-5, Romans 10:4, 1 Corinthians 1:30.)

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith." (Phil. 3:8-9).

"...you have to give up the illusion of control, which earning God's love through rule keeping gives you. You simply have to trust that God is good to his word and accepts us totally out of his merciful character and the work of Jesus Christ."

"...in telling you that righteousness comes from Jesus alone and by virtue of none of your own good works, I am not advocating a kind of lawless Christianity where we are permitted to live in unrepentant and ongoing sin, unconcerned about whether we are living righteously. Rather, I am saying that only by understanding the righteousness of Jesus Christ in us can we live out his righteousness as our new status as Christians..."


Wow. In Christ Alone....I believe that is my past, my present, my future..it is through Him I journey into his marvelous body and become one with Him in spirit soul and body. Knowing this truth, is the real introduction and understanding of the body of Jesus Christ. I in He and He in me. Jesus is the answer. When all is said and done, all differences layed aside allowing love to transform hearts into equality one for another, I then realize we are ALL the same, naked and in desperate need for a savior...a daily renewing
experience....realizing this truth causes me to love my brothers and sisters in Christ and show the spirit of perfection as Jesus did,much love and forgiveness...to our friend or foe. However, while I have buried the hatchet...the handle is still sticking up out of the ground...maybe being "changed in a twinkling of an eye" will bring a final healing? : ) Still in need of prayer and a savior, Janelle

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