The righteousness of the Pharisees!

I have often heard a number of Christians beam with pride as they let you know how faithful they have been with their tithes. They often say that it is their opportunity to give back to God and am sure God would be pleased.

Ironically, no material thing is of any value to Him. The only thing He requires from you is your life. And in the real sense of it your love for God is actually measured by the way you treat your fellow man. And this is sometimes masked by legalistic religious activities which the church seems to find itself in today.

Being overly concerned with religious ceremonies at the expense of the more important aspects of Christianity is nothing new. The Pharisees had that same problem which led Jesus to reel out a series of woes to them in Mathew 23. They were quite meticulous with their tithes but refused to stretch that meticulousness to the more important aspects of the law.

Jesus further exposed how self righteous they could be in their own eyes when He spoke of the tax collector and Pharisee that went to the synagogue to pray in the book of Luke. Fulfilling multitudes of religious activities could at times have this same effect. “I have never missed a Sunday service” “I always attend mid week prayer meetings” “I have never defaulted on my tithes” and so on. And these religious achievements become the basis in which we want to demand our “due” from God. We feel like we have earned it in some way so to speak. “Why do you think you deserve to prosper?” “Because I tithe.” “Why do you think you deserve that new job?” “Because I have been a very faithful Christian.” I am not at all trying to deride church attendance or proper Christian living but it becomes a problem when we believe that they become the legal ground for us to stand on before God.

You cannot make the relationship between you and God any better than it already is. And God is more interested in your relationship with your fellow man as this truly shows your love for Him.

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4: 12

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4: 20

In Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan in the book of Luke, the Levite and the priest were the first people to pass by the poor wounded Jew. There could have been a number of reasons they both refused to help – they could have been running late for temple duties or they could have just finished some form of ceremonial purification which was required by law and touching this wounded man could have jeopardised that. The reasons could have been varied and probably justifiable to the human mind but not to God.

But this same attitude is prevalent somewhat in today’s church. Some preachers insist that all must tithe even when it is clear that it would be impossible for some to do so. That aspect of religion becomes completely pointless because it is of no benefit to anyone but the preacher. Mercy should triumph over judgement. And why do you have to impose restrictions on non tithers or excommunicate them? Do you think God will find that commendable?

We have now fallen into the pitfalls of the Pharisees by imposing man-made laws that make the Word of God of no effect. We have our own yardstick for measuring good Christians and that is no better than the righteousness of the Pharisees.

You give back to God in the way you treat your fellow human being. Scriptures are replete with this charge. Those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, showed hospitality to strangers and visited those in prison where commended by Jesus. Jesus declared that it was like it was done to Him.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. alari Felix
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 10:37:57

    This is a sound teaching.

    Reply

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