Apart from Jesus, our exposure is embarrassing and shameful. It is only when our eyes are on the cross he bore that we can we rightly see our sin for what it is: a fortunate fall. At the cross we simultaneously see the punishment of our unrighteousness and the extent of what it took for us to be cleansed from our filth.
Standing next to anyone or anything else in comparison to justify our righteousness will lead to a fatal fall.
If we stand next to a pastor, or seasoned believer and condemn ourselves thinking that we are “not as good as them”, we measure by a faulty standard of righteousness.
The only hope in that comparison is reaching their “level”. The result is growing in self-righteousness or in depression continuing in sin because we will never reach those heights of faithfulness.
Inversely, if we stand next to a person we perceive to be ‘less righteous’ than ourselves to inflate our ego, we make God’s grace and our humility look cheap. The standard of righteousness again becomes faulty. A limited exposure of our sin always make the cross look cheap.
Compared To Perfection
But if we stand next to Jesus, the standard of holiness, righteousness, and perfection, we can truthfully and humbly say along with Paul, that we are “the chief of sinners” and yet, “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:5; Romans 8:1).
In Jesus we find our help and hope – he took our embarrassing exposure in exchange for his righteousness.