Lets knock down another ‘sacred cow’ . . .

‘ . . . all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags . . .’

We are told that we can have no righteousness, in ourselves, because that’s what this verse says. But is that really the meaning the verse conveys? NO!! Lets look at the verse IN CONTEXT:


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 64:5-6)

(*in ‘Thy ways’ is continuance, and we shall be saved.)

(** because ‘we have sinned’)

Isaiah is lamenting that Israel is no longer continuing in the ways of the Lord, and for this the Lord is wroth. Because they have sinned, because they have turned away from the Lord, they are all as an unclean thing, and all their righteousness has become as filthy rags. They all fade as a leaf, and their iniquities have taken them away from God.

I urge you to read the passage in Isaiah 64, and pray about this. From what I can see, this is a verse that has been taken out of context, and doctrines have been built around it!

No, our righteous works cannot buy our salvation. But God does NOT look on our righteous acts as filthy rags. We are TOLD to be righteous. Noah was righteous. Job was righteous. Daniel was righteous. Lot was righteous. Psalms speaks often of ‘the righteous’. So do Proverbs, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. There HAVE been righteous men. That is the standard God has for us. We can be righteous too.

‘And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is RIGHTEOUS, let him be righteous still: and he that is HOLY, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’ (Revelation 22:10-12)