Finding the Pharisee Within Each of Us

Hey Church!  Let’s continue to apply Luke 5-6 to our lives so that we can recognize when our inner Pharisee is raising its legalistic head. A Pharisee or a religious person spends their life dividing the world into good people and bad people.  As we have seen in Luke 5, Levi the tax collector would be on the Pharisees really bad list.  But the Pharisees themselves would have put themselves on the really good list.  We all tend to do the same thing as we all have a natural tendency to revert back to being religious – we start to depend upon our own works to make us righteous instead of Jesus’ gift of His righteousness.  This is how it happens. First, we believe that “bad people” are bad because they do big bad sins while “good people” do little acceptable sins so they are good.

Think with me for a second.  Where do you draw the line between big sins and little sins.  Go ahead and name them.  Where do you draw the line that in return makes a person good and a person bad for what they have done.  Wherever you draw that line determines how religious you are.  We all divide the line between the little and big sins at different places.  We may put adultery or murder or child abuse way up there while gossip, slander, lying, isolation are not that bad so they are down there on the list that says “acceptable sins.”  One may divide the line between the big sins way down here with most everything being unacceptable and that makes one a conservative Christian.  One may think, I don’t do those bad sins like those other bad people so that makes me good.  I will stick with my acceptable sins and that will make me good and acceptable.  While those who are more liberal may divide the line between good and bad sins way up there.  They would think I am open minded and tolerant.  I don’t want to offend anyone so most everything is an acceptable sin.

But, Jesus, the Son of God shows up and destroys the line that we have made between acceptable and unacceptable sins (Luke 5-6).  Jesus says there is no line between acceptable sins and bad sins, we are all sinners and we all need a savior.  Jesus says, no one is righteous, not even one. Where we divide the world as good and bad – Sinner and Holy – is what becomes our religion and Jesus has come to deliver us from that empty religion. We have a natural tendency to revert back to religion.  Why?  Because we have a natural tendency as a human to want to justify ourselves.  The reason we have our “acceptable sins” but we stay out of the “big sins” is so that we can say to God, “you owe me.”  Hey God when I don’t do this or that You owe me.  Also, Hey God when I do this good thing and that good thing You owe me more.   We can convince ourselves that we are better than others and in return say that God owes us.  We think, hey Lord, I have earned your ear to hear my prayers and so deliver to me my every desire. This is the religion that Jesus has come to release us from.  When we trust our own works instead of the work of Jesus for salvation it is the Phariseical religion.  This is not the trust, belief, faith or call that Jesus calls us to.  And as we have seen in Luke 5, Jesus really despises the legalistic heart of the Pharisees. Jesus says to the Pharisees and to us, Look away from your sacrifices and look to the mercy of God that He gives through, Me, Jesus Christ.  Jesus says, I am the One who can only give eternal Sabbath rest spiritually because of My works not yours.  Jesus says, you can only achieve righteousness through Me and that will take away all of your sinfulness – please just trust that has happened and you will be free from your empty religion. Is there an anger in you that God has not given you what you think you deserve?  That is religion. What makes you feel holy?  Jesus’ work of righteousness or your works?  Jesus says, I am the only One who can make you Holy, so stop working for it, Trust Me!  Jesus says, everything that I have is yours so enjoy resting from your works!  Enjoy My Sabbath rest, Jesus says. Jesus wants us to say, “Lord, you owe me nothing. My righteousness is complete in You.” I look forward to worshiping Jesus our eternal Sabbath rest from works, Our salvation is finished in Christ. – Steve


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