Pastor, are you ministering in your own power or in the power of Another (that is, Christ)?
Does your outward holiness validate your own ministry? Are you standing in a pulpit with a conscience clean because you have abstained from your serious, besetting sin in the past week?
If that is your grounds for ministry, I advise you to quit. The saints in heaven have one righteousness: Christ’s. And if you think you can do better than martyrs in Revelation 6…well, you have another thing coming. Luther, according to lore, referred to righteousness of Christ functioning as snow on top of a pile of dung. Regardless of the exact origin of the phrase, it seems to summarize Luther’s basic thought on the matter.
The beauty of this holiness is that it doesn’t end with the dung, however. It transforms the dung, imperfectly, into something beautiful and fragrant (in a good way) before God and other men. But this holiness ALWAYS springs from the Eternal Spring, Christ Himself. Trust in Him, the righteousness-giver. Turn from your own works of obedience as the grounds of your ministry. Turn to Him and live.