But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:1-11 NKJV
The scriptures show that people are self-righteousness when they come across as being piously convinced of their own righteousness and their own ability to be accepted by God. Technically, there are two kinds of righteousness: self-righteousness and God’s righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). Any righteousness other than God’s righteous is a form of self-righteousness. The scriptures will further reveal that “self-righteousness” is a basis for continued sin notwithstanding noble intentions.
As in the case of the woman in the bible caught in the act of adultery, she was seized and brought to Jesus by a group of self-righteous religious men. This demonstrated the height of self-righteousness for these men to indict the adulterous woman but not the adulterous man. By definition adultery is an immoral sexual act committed by a man and woman with each other; yet, the self-righteousness men only brought the woman to Jesus for the express purpose of His condemnation of her and to sanction the woman’s death by stoning as prescribed in the Law of Moses. But Jesus demonstrated first-hand that God is not in the business of exposing sin. God is love and love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).
How does God deal with sin? As shown by Jesus, God deals with sin and the sinful in private (John 4:13-19). Instead of Jesus exposing the adulterous woman’s sin and causing public humility and shame, Jesus uncovered the self-righteousness of the religious self-righteous men. What God is exposing is self-righteousness. Jesus went about doing good and showing love to all. He didn’t go about exposing sin. As preached in His sermon on the mount, He was scathing in His expose´ and renunciation of self-righteousness (Luke 6:42).
Self-righteousness in and of itself is a form of insidious hypocrisy—play-acting under an assumed character of righteousness. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The source of God’s righteousness is God in Christ. The source of self-righteousness is man and religion. Give me the righteousness of God!