The Religion of Men
February 13, 2021
Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:1-3).
I’ve been around a while now, and I’ve seen and heard a lot of things inside and outside the church. One of the burdens I have for the church is there are a lot of members who know a lot about Jesus, but they don’t know Jesus; they’ve never entered into a personal relationship with Jesus. They’ve never believed in and received Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.
Another burden I have for the church is there are some who are more religious than they are Christian. They are like the scribes and Pharisees. If what the church leadership preaches, teaches, and/or conducts ministry in and through the church doesn’t square with their traditional upbringing or the denomination, they pitch a fit. I’ve known pastors who have been fired for going against the traditions of the power players in the church.
From the start, the scribes and Pharisees were out to destroy Jesus because He didn’t fit into their mold of a traditional Jewish Rabbi. Jesus didn’t honor their traditions and they hated Him for that. He didn’t honor their traditions because their traditions didn’t honor the Law of God, which in turn didn’t honor God.
Jesus didn’t come to be another Jewish Rabbi. He came as the Messiah, the Son of God and the Savior of the children of Israel. He didn’t come to honor their plan of religion. He came to honor God’s plan of redemption. Their religion condemned them in their sin. Jesus came to save them from sin and the judgment of God upon their sin. (John 3:17-19) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
It has been said that religion is Satan’s greatest tool to keep people from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When you consider that ca. 90% of the world’s population is religious, but less than 10% is truly Christian, I guess the sentiment is correct. (Matthew 7:13-14) Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
“Father, may we not be discouraged because there are few who respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep us faithful in sharing Jesus Christ and His Gospel with others, leaving the results up to You. Help us to show people that it is a personal relationship with Jesus that saves us, and not our personal religion. To the salvation of souls in Christ Jesus I ask, Amen.”