Religious Pride and Deception 36

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.

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Pride is that awful twisting in the soul that drives man to serve and do all he does out of self-exaltation and self-love. The heart that is not changed by God will take religion and use it to serve self and pride as well in the name of God. Religion and the practices of religion are used by the unregenerate person to serve self and seek to exalt self. When the Spirit brings conviction of sin, however, man begins to see that his very self and self-love are the root of the problem. It is not that man is not religious enough or that he is not devoted enough; it is that he is too given over to the world or to religion for the sake of self.

In previous BLOGS it is clear from I Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge will puff a person up. So the worldly man is proud of his knowledge of worldly things and the religious man is proud of his knowledge of religious things. In both cases, it is self and pride. The worldly man seeks advantages and the exaltation of self using worldly things and the religious man seeks advantages and the exaltation of self using religious things. We must be careful with our own hearts and pray for God to open up our hearts that we can see our true loves and motives.

As a particular instance there are religious people who spend hours and hours memorizing Scripture. The proud heart will try to gain honor for self or spiritual wealth for its work in memorizing Scripture. It sounds so spiritual and it sounds so religious to memorize large portions of Scripture, but it can also be done out of pride and self-love. Not only is that true, memorizing Scripture can be very dangerous. We cannot memorize Scripture without having a certain view or even interpretation of it. If we memorize Scripture with a wrong interpretation, we are memorizing error and will be using Scripture to support that error. The proud and selfish heart will go to great lengths to gain honor for itself or seek to exalt itself in its own eyes, but that very pride will blind a person to the true meaning of Scripture. Memorizing error is a very dangerous thing.

John 8:37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

What we must have is to have a humble Teacher and Savior to teach us in our inner man. The most religious people of Jesus’ day sought to kill Him because His word and no place in them. They wanted to kill Him and sought to kill Him because He told them the truth, though they had their own interpretations that came from their proud hearts and traditions to refute Him. These men could not understand what Jesus taught them because they could not hear His word, which of course is a spiritual understanding. Because Jesus spoke true and even a spiritual truth they did not believe Him and since they were not of God (but of self) they didn’t and wouldn’t hear. A proud heart will not listen to truth because it is true and that is because a proud heart is so wrong. A proud heart will not listen to the humble Savior because it crosses all that they have done and that includes their pride. It takes humility to study Scripture and it takes a humble Teacher to teach us humility and truth in our inward parts.

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