Religious Pride and Deception 31

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.

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

For some reason (pride) it is far easier for us to judge the scribes and Pharisees than it is to see that we do the same things they did, though perhaps in different ways. It is easier to look back in history and see how the scribes had abused the Scriptures and had made the law into a lie (in appearance). It is easier to see that in doing so the scribes were only dealing with people in a very superficial way, which is to say that they were only dealing with the external aspects as they interpreted them, that it is to see how those things are being done today. It is easier to see how the scribes were using their false interpretation of the law and went around crying ‘peace, peace’ when there was no peace than seeing that in practice today.

In one sense it is easier to think of those things happening in history because if that same sort of thing is rampant today, “I” may be deceived as well. But the reason that so many appear deceived today is because of they only want to deal with the externals of things and because of their own pride. Things have not changed. The scribes and Pharisees came to develop religious rituals over time that they thought demonstrated that they were right, but instead those things were demonstrative evidence that they were wrong. Before the Reformation Rome had developed an elaborate scheme of salvation and “Christian” living for themselves and the people, but all they did was to repeat what the scribes and Pharisees had done. The scribes and Pharisees, the Roman Catholics before the Reformation (and after), and now the many of our day were blinded by their own pride and so deceived that their religious actions were pleasing to God.

There are many ways and rituals in our day that at least parallel both the scribes and Pharisees and the Roman Catholics. Whenever someone comes up with things we have to do and ways to approach God based on what we do, we can know that they are on the wrong track. Now it is true that many of these things are biblical in terms of the action, but it takes grace to perform an action to please God and nothing we do can earn grace from God. We should read and study the Bible, but let us not think that those things please God and that by doing them we will necessarily grown in the faith. The scribes and Pharisees studied their Bibles and memorized them far more than we will ever do, but it did nothing but increase their pride rather than their pleasing God.

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;

Matthew 23:5 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.

The Pharisees were masters of searching the Scriptures (Bible study) but they did not find the truth. It is only grace that can open the eyes of the soul and enable men and women to behold Christ. The Pharisees thought that they could find eternal life in the Scriptures, but instead they missed what the Scriptures really pointed them to and that was Christ. The Pharisees would even put things on their garments pointing to how many Scriptures that they had memorized. But do we do anything like that in our day? Do we think we are spiritual because we study the Bible, read the Bible, and memorize portions of it? The Pharisees did that and thought they were spiritual. Could it be that many are following the ways of the Pharisees and are also missing eternal life in our day? Pride and more pride.

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