Religious Pride and Deception 4

Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 11 “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Matthew 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him. 10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The human heart is proud, so very proud. This is an aspect of the fall where mankind fell into a self-centered heart that will always want to rule self, put others down, and be self-sufficient as much as it can. Since the proud heart is full of self and in its great pride wants to be better than others, it will look down on others who are not as good as itself. Since the proud heart is so full of self and pride, it cannot imagine that the Word of God will set out standards that it cannot meet in its own power, so it will water down the Bible with proud reasoning and then exalt itself in its own mind while seeking the honor of others for keeping its own standards.

But human nature is not changed. It never was tainted with any thing worse than inordinate self-love; it is tainted with that still. Human nature considered in itself, like the nature of other animals, remains essentially the same in very period and condition…but till a new nature is imparted, selfishness gives essentially the same form in the sight of God to every human character. He that “hateth his brother is a murderer;” he that cherishes an impure desire is an adulterer; he that covets is an idolater.” In this polluted principle lurk the seeds of all sin; and where nothing else of a moral nature exists, as in all cases where “true holiness” is wanting, it constitutes the whole character in the sight of God. Of course the character of all unholy men, however variously compressed by restraints, is specifically the same. Edward D. Griffin

The Scribes and the Pharisees were born dead in sins and trespasses and were by nature children of wrath, but they were so proud they would not admit that. Instead of bowing to the true God, in the idolatry of their own nature they took the Bible (OT in their time) and twisted it to become what they wanted. This is what sinful man did then and this is what sinful men do now. Rather than seek the Lord for a broken heart and a new heart, the proud human heart that is so blinded by love of self and self-exaltation will take truth and turn it into a new religion of self. This is precisely what the Scribes and the Pharisees did. They used scholarship and outward holiness as ways for their pride to come up with a religion that used the words of the Old Testament and still allowed them room for their pride. Not only did it leave them room for pride, their form of religion fed and puffed them up with more pride.

The scholars of their day and our day as well can spend careers and lifetimes studying the Bible out of pride and self, though they will have an outward form of humility. Their studies, coming from their proud hearts which rely on human wisdom, do not have the illuminating light of the Spirit. Even in conservative circles, since one is not saved by being conservative, the Bible can become captured by the human wisdom of scholars and twisted and turned to be man-centered in certain ways. The preaching of conservative men can become forms of legalism as with the Pharisees who were also conservative. The pulpits of the land can become filled with proud men who are proud of their being conservative and proud of knowing about Jesus Christ.

Proud man can refuse to have anything to do with sinners and severely criticize others for doing so as well, but that is also to be like the Pharisees. Proud men can think that by following their scholarly ways and their conservative ways (in their own strength) that they can be saved. Proud men can think that because they know a lot of facts about Jesus that they are saved. Proud men can think that because they preach conservative ideas about Jesus that they must be saved. Proud men can think that because they preach a lot of truth about Jesus that liberals would not that they are therefore saved. Apart from the sovereign grace of God in regenerating sinners, the worst of men and the best of men in the outward sense are all lost and under condemnation. While proud men think of themselves as holy and look down on “sinners” from on high (in their own mind), Jesus did not come to save the righteous such as the proud men, but instead came to save sinners. Oh how proud men hate the idea of being sinners, though indeed proud men will speak of their own mistakes in order to appear religious (in certain circles) or humble.

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