Pristine Grace

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Outward Morality
by David Bishop

     A transformation in outward morality is not evidence of anything but the presence of outward morality.  Outward morality can be as easily produced by Alcoholics Anonymous as it can by proper nutrition and a civilized upbringing.  After all, the Pharisee who went up to the Temple to pray unto himself really was indeed  more outwardly moral than the Publican.  

     But people who look to outward morality for evidence of righteousness are looking in the wrong place.  There is no righteousness to be found in a sinner's outward morality.  The only thing he will find there instead is a morality that falls far short of God's standard of perfection.

     But if the man is self righteous, then he will find all manner of righteousness in his outward morality.  This righteousness will fall short of God's standard of perfection, it will be twisted and corrupted by sin, and it will be the result of the man's self deception and spiritual blindness, but it will be there.  It will be there, he will find it, and he will use it to assure himself of a good standing with God by comparing it to the outward morality he sees produced by other men.