Morality damns just like immorality. And morality does not bring divine blessing. Jesus went head to head with the most superficially moral people in His world, the most religious people in His world, the Pharisees and the scribes. And He used His most scathing, His most searing, His most severe invectives on the religious right of His day. Matthew 23, Jesus addressed the religious leaders of his time, the moral people, the people who were the fastidious keepers of the law of God and human tradition. And He says to them in Verse 13: "Woe," which means damn, judgment, curse, "...you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." Verse 14, He repeats that. Verse 15, He repeats it. Verse 16: "Woe to you, blind guides." Verse 17: "You fools and blind men." Verse 19: "You blind men." Verse 23: "Woe to you," again, "...scribes and Pharisees. 24: "You blind guides." 25: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." Verse 26: "You blind Pharisee." 27: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees." And it just keeps going like that all the way along. In the end of the Chapter, He says, Verse 37: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets, you stone those that are sent to you." Verse 38 He says: "Your house is being left to you desolate. Desolate." And He was looking ahead to the destruction in 70 A.D., as well as the profound spiritual judgment.
Jesus never used such words as that on the outcasts, the prostitutes, the criminals. In fact, Jesus spent his time with those people; the outcasts of his day, the tax collectors. And they said, that Jesus was a glutton, "and a drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners." That was a label put on Jesus by the religious right. Moralism was never the message of the Old Testament prophets. It was never the message of the Messiah. It is never the message of the New Testament apostles and prophets. It has never been God's message to the world because, when all is said and done, listen to what Isaiah said: "All your righteousness is filthy rags." Romans Chapter 3 is a very important chapter because it describes the condition of human wickedness. And in Chapter 3 Verse 10 it says: "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God." So whatever imaginary righteousness men have, whatever superficial morality he may exhibit, in the end, they're not righteous before God. It gains them nothing. Nothing. There is no one good enough, "not even one," Verse 12 says. Everybody, Verse 19 says, everybody "under the law," everyone who lives according to the law to some degree or another, will find that their mouths are "closed." They have no defense. And the whole world is "accountable," guilty, "...before God. Because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight."
So I say again: You can become moral. You can change, you know. You can turn over your life and have some kind of a -- it used to be called moral rearmament. Come through a crisis and decide you're going to turn away from living an immoral life or you're going to start to live a better life, a cleaner life, clean up your act. And that has no bearing on your relationship to God whatsoever. Listen: The biblical message is not that humanity is divided between the moral and the immoral, or that humanity is divided between the good and the bad, or that humanity is divided between the virtuous and the wicked. The message of the Bible is that: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." That there is no division; they're all immoral, bad and wicked. It's only a question of degree, or kind, or manifestation. Whatever somebody's external degree of morality might be, all are condemned sinners headed to hell.
Excerpt was taken from a message that was delivered at Grace Community Church in Panorama City, California, By John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed from the tape, GC 80-257, titled "The Deadly Dangers of Moralism".