July 15, 2018
Matthew23:13… Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.
One wonders how they did not allow those who would enter to go in. “Don’t go in there.” Further descriptions of the Pharisees show us the real problem.
Verse 25… Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside you are full of greed and self indulgence.
The leaders kept the people from entering the Kingdom of heaven by putting the emphasis on the external and not the internal. We do the same when we put the attention on how we look or what we do. We are not Christians because we look a certain way. We are not Christians because we do nice things. We are Christians because we have been bought by the blood of Jesus. We are Christians because of God… not because of our antics… or even our intentions. Jesus is the gate, the only gate, into the Kingdom of heaven. When teachers talk about what you should do differently to be part of the Kingdom, they mislead you. They shut the door in your face. For that very reason, they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven either. As I already said, Jesus is the only door/gate into the kingdom of heaven. You can’t get there by doing right.
Now, I must say that doing good deeds is part of being a Christian; but it has nothing to do with God’s approval. He approves when you believe Him and His Son. All of our good deeds are a result of gratefulness to God. To be thankful to God, we have to appreciate how desperate we were and how completely He saved us. I have heard a mistake made commonly. We think that we were not really that bad. We know people who were really bad and we figure Jesus died for them. Jesus died for all… even the Sunday school best student.
Teachers, don’t mislead people. As the old song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face” The next line should say, “Throw away your mirror.”