Friday, May 10, 2013

Daily Gospel Devotional 2013: The subtle error of standards

Matthew 15:12-20 / Mark 7:17-23…

The Pharisees added many man-made laws to surround God’s Law. The logic was that if one could keep from violating the added tradition, then one would be kept from violating the Law. But Jesus didn’t validate these traditions, because their laws set up a barrier between God and man. They stopped people from hearing the Word of God and being convicted of their sin.

It was thought that by adding a layer to the Law, it would help people keep it. Instead it kept people from it. By raising the standards, it actually lowered the bar. The traditions were a trap, they kept people thinking that they were able to meet the true standards, and they kept people from feeling the sting of missing the real mark. The Law shows us that no one can actually meet God’s standard, not that we need to add a “higher standard” so that people can rise above it. The Law doesn’t give life, it points to the only one who can.

These higher standards actually set lower standards, and it creates self-righteous people who think all is well with their soul.  Many do not see Him because they meet some other standard. Like church attendance, giving offerings, dress codes, praying, or even pastoring. They believe that people can follow the rules and so therefore they don’t actually follow Christ.

It can also make hard hearted libertines with their smug sincerity; people who think that following their own heart is enough. People will read passages on heart based religion and think it means sincerity, instead of spirituality, which can only be given by God. Sincerity is no substitute for truth, and the truth is that we need new hearts.

The true path to Jesus leads us to be broken by the Law, so that we will humbly come to realize that we cannot possibly meet the standards given by God, and so we must trust in Christ. No, the sting of the Law must be felt or our feelings will lead us away from God and into the religion of standards and sincerity.  When we lower the standard by adding to the Word of God, the precepts we keep are the road to perdition. Profane behavior is a product of the heart.

No law can make men free from themselves. Only the gospel has that power.  

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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