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Does GOD Truly See Our Works Of Righteousness As Filthy Rags?

It is the mainstream Christian belief that GOD sees human works of righteousness as filthy rags. Filthy rags are specifically defined as foul or dirty matter; something that is disgusting!

Are "Righteous Acts" disgusting to GOD???

Let's be clear! We are directly and exclusively referencing the GOD of Israel in the Original Testament. Is it, in fact, scripturally accurate that the GOD of Israel considers righteous deeds as foul and disgusting (a description that is Biblically synonymous with wickedness)?

The vast majority of Christians believe firmly that their works of righteousness are not a determining factor when it comes to entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. Entrance into the Great Kingdom of Heaven means escape from hell. This escape is the perceived notion of"Salvation". Salvation from the burning fires and eternal torment of the place that is destined for the wicked!

But who are the wicked?

The wicked are those who are not righteous.

The righteous are those who do what is right in accordance with the Law and statutes instituted by the GOD of Israel; they do works of righteousness! Lawfully defined works of righteousness to be accepted by HIM and to dwell in HIS presence. According to the Original Testament, keeping the Law is a demonstration of reverence and honor towards the GOD of Israel.

Shall it be said that those who follow the Laws instituted by the GOD of Israel shall now be rejected by HIM??

Where Did This Belief Come From?

The belief that the righteous deeds of man shall be counted as filthy rags, surprisingly came directly out of the Christian faith quoting a Biblical text from the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 64:6, KJV

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away"

From A Prophets' Point Of View

The very first thing that must be understood when examining this text is the recognition that it is a prayer presented to the GOD of Israel from the prophet Isaiah. The prophet Isaiah is pleading for the help of the GOD of Israel and making his own personal assessment of the current situation; an assessment made from a human perspective. Take note that the GOD of Israel does not say in this passage that "everyone is as an unclean thing, and that their righteousness is as filthy rags", these words were spoken specifically from a man describing his perception of the current situation among the people of Israel.

The Rejection Of Wickedness

The second question to examine is, why does the prophet Isaiah proclaim that their "righteousnessess is as filthy rags?"

Why would the prophet Isaiah describe them in this way?

Within the very same verse we read, "and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6, KJV)

and in the following verse, "For THOU hast hid THY face from us because of our iniquities" (Isaiah 64:7, KJV)

What do these passages reveal???

They were Double-Minded!

Double-minded in the sense of doing good deeds as well as evil deeds is descriptive of an unfaithful servant; they were unfaithful!!

The GOD of Israel stated that when a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, his righteous acts become "muddied" (Ezekiel 18:24, KJV)... like "filthy rags". The Israelites that are being addressed by the prophet Isaiah, were guilty of outwardly observing the Law (Righteousness), but inwardly connecting with wickedness in their hearts. This connection manifested through their actions like a muddied spring.

Take note, this passage does not reference the righteousness of ALL men as "filthy rags", ONLY the ones who are unfaithful!! These are they who promise to faithfully serve the GOD of Israel and rescind their promise by partaking in acts of disobedience to HIS Laws and Statutes.

The prophet Isaiah declared that destruction was quickly approaching because the people chose to sin against the GOD of Israel after making a covenant signifying faithfulness to HIM.

"And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away"

What is this descriptive of?

The ungodly!!

Psalm 1:4, KJV

"The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away"

It is the ungodly; the way of the heathen, to do good deeds at times of convenience as well as evil deeds to satisfy their lusts; deeds that violate the Laws and Statutes of the GOD of Israel.

The Heart Of The GOD Of Israel

You see, the Original Testament is very clear, the GOD of Israel favorably considers those who faithfully keep HIS Laws and Commandments. These are known as the Righteous, and their"works of righteousness," or adherence to HIS Laws, are not discounted as "filthy rags". To the contrary, these individuals are held in the highest esteem by the GOD of Israel.

When examining the Original Testament text we find these interesting facts concerning how the GOD of Israel perceives those who keep HIS Laws and Commandments:

Psalm 11:7, KJV

"For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; HIS countenance doth behold the upright (the righteous)"

We know from the written Biblical text, that the GOD of Israel is righteous and HE loves righteous deeds; Righteous deeds that are not muddied or intermixed with sinful deeds! HE watches over the Righteous!!

Psalm 11:7, KJV

"The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and HIS ears are open unto their cry"

1 Peter 3:12, KJV

"For the eyes of the LORD are over the righteous, and HIS ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the LORD is against them that do evil (those who violate HIS Laws; evildoers)"

Do you realize how AMAZINGLY PHENOMENAL it is to have the EYES of THE CREATOR WATCHING over you!!! HIS EARS ATTENTIVE to your prayer!!

Let us re-examine the text of Isaiah.

Isaiah 64:5-7, KJV

"THOU (the GOD of Israel) meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember THEE in THY ways: behold, THOU art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah is highlighting that they have committed deeds of righteousness as well as iniquity).

And there is none that calleth upon THY name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of THEE: for THOU hast hid THY face from us, and hast consumed us, BECAUSE of our iniquities"

These Israelites made a covenant to be faithful in honoring the commandments and Laws of the GOD of Israel and yet continuously violated that promise by choosing repeatedly to sin against HIM, thereby making their works of righteousness worthless; equivalent to "filthy rags".

The GOD of Israel declared:

Ezekiel 18:24, KJV

"But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die"

Despite the popular opinion...

the GOD of Israel utterly rejects the divided heart!

When examining your character, do you manifest a heart of loyalty or one in which the prophet Isaiah would label your deeds as "filthy rags"?

Learn more about this in one of our Bible Classes

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