Psalm 143:2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
David grew a lot spiritually over the years. In places like 2 Samuel 22:25 (and in several Psalms) he essentially bragged about his own righteousness, but here he acknowledges what Paul said so famously: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) This is by far the more mature position, because pride has no place before God. The thing is, we are righteous before God if we confess our sins to Him and trust in the completed work of Christ on the cross, (1 John 1:9) but that is the only way we can be clean. Being the liar that he is, the devil tries to deceive us in one direction or the other, either with moral conceit or with thinking we are hopeless. Both of those are indeed lies. There are many forms of perfection we can look forward to in heaven: perfect health, perfect knowledge, perfect joy, and this one, perfect righteousness. That said, we experience those momentarily if at all on this earth. We do receive perfect righteousness when we repent before God in faith, just as John said, but in our weakness we are going to sin again in some way in very short order. That’s why it is essential that we walk in humility and trust, keeping our repentance up to date, because unrepented sin is a cancer that eats into us and makes us vulnerable to more and more.
This applies to me as much as it does to anyone. There are those who look at me and can’t imagine I would be anything but righteous, but that shows they don’t really know me and they don’t really understand righteousness. I wish I could say I abide in Christ totally, 24/7/365, but I’m as human as anyone else. By God’s grace I’ve had a lot of practice in recognizing sin and repenting of it, but that process is going to continue until the day I take off this body. The reason the Gospel is such good news is that it doesn’t depend on us; all we have to do is repent and believe. (Mark 1:15) I have been charged with communicating the Gospel, so I must not think that I don’t need it myself.
Father, thank You for Your truly amazing grace. May I be an open, effective channel of that grace, drawing many to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!