I know a man who sees everything black or white. Maybe you know him too. He is zealous for the truth. He is a defender of justice who confidently speaks for God. His critical eye is the first to spot error in others and in himself. He is meticulous in his theology, mastered in the school of answers, mindful of all the rules.
This same man breaks fellowship with those who are inconsistent in their behavior. He is quick to list and condemn others’ faults. He inhales rules while exhaling legalism. He fathoms justice but cannot swallow mercy. He eloquently recites chapter and verse but knows not the melody of God’s sweet grace. Somewhere in his journey he veered from worshiping God to lodge in a monastery or chapel whose walls are decorated with plaques praising the Religious Order--burners of incense bottled from the sweat of the self-righteous elite—a group thrilled to have his membership.
How can this man be so right and yet so full of error? Easy—cease focusing on God and insist on protecting His laws and see what happens. Jesus blasted an entire religious group called the Pharisees for their religious hypocrisy. They built and designed Law subdivisions with well-articulated zoning instructions but were clueless towards the Law-Designer’s intent. Ah but let’s not bash the Pharisees—we are all just as easily culpable. Anyone who values being good above knowing God is vulnerable to error. How can I ever reach those who have no relationship with Him if I am too “holy” to associate with them? Note: Jesus never claimed office space in the Temple, He hung with (and later for), the sick, lame and searching.
One can easily proclaim God’s word and yet turn away God. Occasionally I receive letters from someone bent on proving that the only Biblical translation people should be using is the Authorized or King James Version (KJV). This person is consumed with being right but at what cost? Somehow I don’t believe the angels are sitting in heaven moaning because people have left the KJV to use the New International Version.
Right living is not the key to God’s truth. God’s truth is the key to right living.
Matthew 23:27--Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity.
We get the idea that wrong views of God and of goodness arise from a life that is wrong; the Bible shows that wrong views of God and of goodness may arise out of a life that is right.—Oswald Chambers in Conformed to His Image
©1998 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)