Matthew 23:27-28“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.
I was reading the monthly ministry report of Thru the Bible and came across an article by the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee based upon a letter that he had received from a woman who, shortly after becoming a Christian, was told that there was certain things she could and could not do by her small group from church. But, in trying to follow all these rules, she found herself miserable. Sure, the Bible tells us the will of God for the living out our lives aligned with His Word, Will and Way as He intended, but Dr. McGee points out that it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Many believe that Christianity and Church are just a system of outward appearances and behavior changes, but without the supernatural regeneration of the heart inwardly, we are just whitewashed tombs; shape looking on the outside, but dead inside.
Luke 11:39-40Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.
Christianity and Christ’s church are not a list of do’s and don’ts. Dr. McGee emphasizes that in order to live a life of holiness, we must first receive new life from God – we must be born from above. That includes a new heart that does not walk in the old sin nature, but keeps in step with the indwelling Holy Spirit in our daily walk on this journey. We take on Christ’s nature and take up that cross daily to follow the Lord. We die to sin with Jesus and are raised to eternal life with Him. Our authentic convictions must come from the heart; anything else is just an act … a cup just cleaned on the outside for the world to see. The Lord Jesus said that we are in the world, but not of the world (paraphrase of John 17:14-16); true Believers are children of God and citizens of heaven. We cannot serve God by following a set of rules outwardly; we must have a purpose in our hearts. We have to “not want to” do that which is not aligned with the Lord and naturally “want to” do that which is aligned with His perfect will, from the heart. Jesus said that it was out of the heart that the issues of life proceed. The patriarch Daniel “purposed in his heart” that he would obey God’s law given to God’s people (Daniel 1:8) – this was His testimony. What is ours? Are we living for God from the heart?
Titus 3:3-7For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
In Christ, Brian