With the breast plate of righteousness on, we cannot wear our own righteousness. We must always look to the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. If you examine the life of Job you will find that he underwent a great test of his faith for the purpose of exposing his self righteousness. God does allow the devil to attack us and in doing so it usually reveals to us our inner motives and heart conditions.
Scriptures tell us that Job was a “righteous man” in other words he kept the law like Paul did but even though Job did righteous deeds he was in actuality a “self righteous man.” (Self-righteousness (also called sententiousness) is a feeling of smug moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person) wiki Dic.
Job relied upon his own good works rather than the work of grace. Job 40:8 “Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?”
But eventually as the trials continued Job became indignant…. he felt that he was entitled….”I am such a good guy so why are these things happening to me?”
Dwight L. Moody quotes it this way…“You can always tell when a man is a great ways from God — he is always talking about himself, how good he is. But the moment he sees God by the eye of faith, he is down on his knees, and, like Job, he cries, ” Behold I am vile.”
As we can see from the scriptures, Job had a lot to brag about didn’t he?
“When I went out to the gate by the city, when I took my seat in the open square, the young men saw me and hid, and the aged arose and stood; the princes refrained from talking, and put their hand on their mouth; the voice of nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth. When the ear heard, then it blessed me, and when the eye saw, then it approved me; because I delivered the poor who cried out, and the fatherless and the one who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the case that I did not know. I broke the fangs of the wicked, and plucked the victim from his teeth.
Men listened to me and waited, and kept silence for my counsel. After my words they did not speak again, and my speech settled on them as dew. They waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide as for the spring rain. If I mocked at them, they did not believe it, and the light of my countenance they did not cast down. I chose the way for them, and sat as chief; so I dwelt as a king in the army, as one who comforts mourners. (Job 29:7-17, 21-25)
But what happens when Job tries to justify himself before God ? He is humbled! God asks Job if he thinks that he is good enough to save himself and of course Job sees his sin and realizes, that no, he is not able to save himself.
Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said: “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”Then Job answered the Lord and said: “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His? Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor, and array yourself with glory and beauty. Disperse the rage of your wrath; look on everyone who is proud, and humble him. Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low; tread down the wicked in their place. Hide them in the dust together, bind their faces in hidden darkness. Then I will also confess to you that your own right hand can save you.” Job 40:1-14
After his chastising, Job sees his arrogance and pride. When God confronts him with his self righteousness then Job repents of it.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, “I know that Thou canst do all things, And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me.’ “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6
As long as we cling to our own self righteousness instead of wearing Christ’s breast plate of righteousness we are wide open for spiritual attack by Satan. True humility is recognizing your inability to be righteous of your own recognizance no matter how many good deeds you have done or how much of the law you have kept!
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. . . . But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. “ II Corinthians 10:12, 17-18
James 4:5-6 “Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” James 4:6
In conclusion, it is only the righteousness of Jesus Christ that makes us acceptable to God and NOTHING we do or ever could do, no matter how noble.