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Misconception that our Righteousness is as Filthy Rags



There is a very common teaching spread around in modern Christianity where they teach that our righteousness is as filthy rags.

It comes from misunderstanding and/or twisting verses from Isaiah, and modern teachers are using it to compliment their teachings in a way that is not really in context with the actual verse.

I've decided to cover this misconception since this saying is sometimes brought up to me, to interrupt me, when I am trying to show people that the Law is not abolished, and with this saying, they may act like the Law is useless, and those keeping it are as disgusting rags.

So in other words, some are clipping the verse from Isaiah out of context, and saying it's about people obeying the commandments and then it saying their righteousness is still worthless and even as disgusting trash, discouraging people from obeying the commandments given to them from our Father by saying it's pointless and no good.

Isaiah 5:20 "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink, that justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!"

The quote that they're using is basically fallen Yisrael speaking who had strayed very far from righteousness to the point YHWH gave them up to be destroyed by Babylon since they would not repent.

It was not speaking of every human's righteousness being as an unclean disgusting rag.

So with the text in context, for these people, the Law was not useless, but was their very life, just as YHWH had warned them in his Word.

If you read the writings of the prophets for this time, you can see that if they were even trying to keep the Law, this would not have happened, because YHWH showed he did not want to depart from them but they fully chose to disregard his Law despite the graciousness YHWH had been showing to them, and the warnings and words from his prophets.

If you look at the verse it even clearly contradicts the false teaching, and also says that their righteousness was filthy as rags because they were strayed and sinning, although it is best to read the entire book of Isaiah, and further the Entire Old Testament, to understand the verse in context and know how wicked Yisrael had become and how YHWH was about to depart from them and allow destruction to fall on them(and he did destroy them and root them out of the promised land);

Isaiah 64:4 "For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear neither has the eye seen, O Elohim, beside you, what he has prepared for him that waits for him.
You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember you in your ways.
Behold, you are 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 and there is none that calls on your name, that stirs up himself to take hold of you, for you have hid your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities"

This false teaching is used by some to make it sound like we should stop keeping the Law because there is no point in it, which contradicts all scriptures in the Bible, and it even contradicts this very section.

If you stop keeping the Law, your righteousness will surely be as filthy rags just as the wicked people spoken of in Isaiah who YHWH destroyed.

Here is an example from YHWH;

Ezekiel 18:24 "But when the righteous man repents from his righteousness and commits evil and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All of his righteousness that he has done will be forgotten in his trespass that he has trespassed and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die"

Do not let anyone trick you into thinking you are not righteous when you are practicing righteousness, and have turned away from unrighteousness to the best of your ability, and have been pardoned of your former sins through the sacrifice of Yahushua the perfect lamb that YHWH has provided.

The Disciple John contradicts the twisted teachings;

1 John 3:4 "Whoever commits sin breaks also the Law, for sin is the breaking of the Law"

1 John 3:7 "Little children let no man deceive you, he who does righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous, He who commits sin is of the Satan, for the Satan sinned from the beginning"

John there tells us do not let anyone deceive you, he who does righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous, and even further, he even right here tells us that he who breaks the Law is of the Satan!
 So, learn from John here, and do righteousness!

Psalm 37:30 "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment, the law of his Elohim is in his heart, his steps do not slide"

Isaiah 51:7 "Listen to me, you people who know righteousness, you people who have my Law in your hearts, do not be afraid of being insulted by people, and do not be discouraged by their ridicule, for the moth will eat them up like a garment and the worm will eat them like wool, but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations"

So again, our righteousness is definitely not good enough to save us from death, for we have fallen short, and it is the sacrifice of Yahushua that pardons and perfects us, though we are still supposed to keep the Law of YHWH, it's what we needed pardoning from breaking in the 1st place.

YHWH and Yahushua the Messiah both instruct us to do righteousness and obey the commandments of our mighty Father.

Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord', and do not the things which I say?"

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