Thursday, August 28, 2008

Modern Pharisees - Part 1

I want to take some time, as I said in an earlier post, to write about Pharisees. I think it is an important topic, and I will explain why.

I got saved earlier this year, and the first thing God lead me to study in the Bible was the subject of Pharisees. Seems like rather an odd subject to the the first study for a new Christian, but believe me, it made sense. It made sense because I had spent many years before I was saved being a Pharisee. When we get saved, God wants us to give up the sins we committed before salvation. God wanted me to leave my filthy rags at the cross, pick up some new, clean garments, and walk forward. But we are all as an unclean thing, and our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6.

There are two brands of Pharisee that I see today. There are the Pharisees that think they are saved when they really are not. They have learned all the “rules” and follow them rigidly, and try to sway others to follow them also. They subconsciously or consciously think that doing these things can earn them salvation and favour with God. Then there is the Pharisee that is saved but still wants to bind people that are free in Christ to a works-based system based on the traditions of men.

The main sin of the Pharisees in Christ’s days on earth is the same as the modern day variety. The Pharisees main sin, no matter when they live, is hypocrisy. (Luke 12:1). Outwardly they pretended to be righteous and to have it all together. But all they had was self-righteousness which meant nothing. What they needed was to be saved and to have God’s righteousness. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Romans 10:3. The Pharisees appeared to be living right, but Jesus saw what was on the inside and what was on the inside was wicked.

The Bible shows us that the heart of a Pharisee is far from God. He answered and said unto them, well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Mark 7:6. They elevate their own commands and preferences and standards over the commands of God, and teach their own ideas as the commands of God when in reality they are not. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Mark 7:7-9. They exalt their own commandments above God’s commandments because they are obeying what is right in their OWN eyes and not in the eyes of God. It is Pharisaical people that make the word of God of NO effect, as Mark 7:13 tells us. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

This is a very basic introduction to what a Pharisee is. In some later posts I will take Scripture verses to show what the characteristics of these people are. It is important that we know how to spot a Pharisee so that we are not deceived by them.

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