Life of Christ 117
Note: This is the eighth of an eight part mini-series on the errors of the Pharisees.
The seventh error with which Christ reproaches the Pharisees is hiding the truth from people. 'Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered' (Luke 11.52).
We must never forget that the devil is a liar and the father of it (John 8.44). He is, in every respect, the opposite of Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth (John 14.6). Thus, religious systems which hide from the truth and propagate lies are an anathema to God, and ought to be an anathema to people. The same is true of the religious leaders who lead those systems, and the followers who fill them.
Granted, it is certainly true that some people will refuse to see the truth as truth when you display it, or will insist, either sincerely or insincerely, in misunderstanding the truth. These are all too human failings. But, speaking broadly, we have nothing to fear when holding and displaying the truth and everything to gain.
I could point my finger at any number of religions, but let me hew close to our own crowd here. I've known some soul winners who lied about their soul winning results. I've known bus workers who promised promotions that they knew weren't going to happen. I've known preachers whose sermons were replete with fake illustrations. I've known Bible college students who lied about their homework. Certainly every human being has lied at one point or another, but when we lie in the process of serving God or about what we are doing for God it is abominable. We are not only hurting ourselves, but also those around us. We are hiding the knowledge of the truth from them, and no matter how sincere or good our motives may be, the result will eventually be damage rather than edification.
As we close this little mini-series based on Jesus' diatribe against the Pharisees let us embrace the applications to our own religious system. Let us beware placing a premium on the external to the neglect of the internal. Let us be balanced, and not major on the minors. Let us avoid pride at all costs. Let us carefully teach doctrine, and whitewash the spiritually dead movements of our day. Let us be cautious that we do not produce an untenable religious system, filled with rules, and choking off a vital spiritual life from the heart. Let us embrace, rather than resist, those who would question our dogmatism. And let us speak and welcome the truth.
We ought never forget that the Pharisees started out well, with the best of intentions, in their desire to ensure Israel remained true to God. But the devil is a master at perverting real religion to the place that it actually hinders people in relation to the Lord instead of helps them. We must needs be watchful that we do not allow our good religion, committed to the Lord in ways that so many no longer are these days, to turn into a pharisaic disaster.