Religious Pride and Deception 12

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 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

In this passage the point is that men should not do their acts of righteousness or practice of righteousness in the presence of men in order to be noticed by them. The text goes on to specifically point out that when giving to the poor one should not sound a trumpet, whether in the synagogues or in the streets, in order that men would honor them. While it is not exactly clear that the scribes and the Pharisees would indeed sound literal trumpets when they were about to give to the poor, the point is that they did what they could do to gain the attention of men so that they would be honored in what they did. While the Pharisees may have sounded trumpets to gain attention, the main point is that men can give to the poor in a way that is an effort to gain honor for what they are doing.

If we have eyes to see it should be crystal clear to us that the scribes and Pharisees were vile and wicked men in their pride because they would rather that men would notice what they were doing than God. The pride of these men is seen in that they did not really wish the well-being of those they were giving money to as much as they wanted to be honored by men for what they were doing. Not only that, but these men were so wretchedly proud that they would give to the poor wishing the attention and honor of men rather than the glory of God. When men will do religious acts in order to get men to honor them rather than honor God, those men hate both man and God and are also making themselves out to be idols. What they are doing is really worship and love of self rather than the love of man and worship of God. What they are really doing is doing all for their own glory rather than the love of God. They are also taking sides with the devil who always does what he does for himself rather than God. The evil in religious actions that are done for self rather than true love for God is beyond the human comprehension.

If we boil the religious actions of the scribes and Pharisees down, what we see are men who are slaves to their own pride and self and as such they try to use the things of God in a way where they are honored as men of God while they serve the lusts of the flesh. Unregenerate man will always do what he perceives is in his best interest and that is always his fleshly interests. It is true that men will go to great lengths to do things that appear to be spiritual, but they are blind and dead to spiritual things so they are in some way serving the flesh in what they do. The pride of these men blinded them to their idol of self and so all that they did was in service of self which is to be at enmity with God rather than being in the service of God.

But what does this have to do with us today? We must get it in the depths of our souls that no religion and no work or works can help us in the slightest as long as we are in the flesh and still in our pride and love of self as our controlling love. The absolute and utter necessity of the new birth where the flesh of man is taken away (as to controlling man as a slave) and man is given a new heart where by the Spirit man can love God and can do a work by the strength of grace out of love for God and man.

We also must learn that our own pride will deceive us just as it deceived the scribes and the Pharisees. It is almost certain that in the modern day there are countless numbers of people deceived as to their real spiritual state. Many of those are attending organizations that think of themselves as liberal churches, but are not churches at all. Others attend professing churches that hold to conservative creeds in doctrine and are also conservative in morality, yet they take pride in those things and are blinded by their pride to their pride. Their pride deceives them and they are a lot like the scribes and the Pharisees, though they would condemn them in words, as they live in the flesh doing religious activities saying they are in the name of God while in fact they still are dead in sins and trespasses.

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