Friday, August 22, 2008

Be Real!

Genuine is good. Fake is bad. Hypocrisy is nauseating.

Unfortunately, religious venues can harbor hypocrites. You know what I mean. In church people act one way and confess a religious world view that they take off on their way out. The religious values they sang about inside are not apparent in their personal and business life.

Jesus said of such people, "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:7-8)

Jesus also said:
  • They make a big show of their charitable deeds to get glory from men. (Matt. 6:2)
  • They love to stand and pray loudly in public places to be seen by men. (Matt. 6:5)
  • They make a big show out of their self-denial to get praise from men. (Matt. 6:16)
  • They cheat poor widows but turn around and make pretentious long prayers (Matt. 23:14)
  • They are picky about small things, but neglect justice, mercy and faith. (Matt. 23:23)
  • They obsess about religious traditions, but are full of self-indulgence. (Matt. 23:25)
Pretense, posturing and pride. What good can come from ponderously propounding platitudes?

We are not called to put on a show. Our pompous proclamation of our own righteousness and spiritual sensitivity doesn't make it so. It only stokes our pride. God is not deceived.

Religious ritual, formalism, legalism, traditionalism and the praise of men will not make you right with God. These things are all external, but they don't change the bottom line - people are spiritually dead and corrupt apart from God's grace. As Jesus said to the hypocrites, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness." (Matthew 23:27)

The only help for it is the saving work of Christ that comes through grace.
(Ephesians 2:8-9) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

(2Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

(James 4:6) But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
People are made right with God when they finally admit their own sinfulness and inability to please God, and turn their trust to the saving work of Christ. Then in genuine humility they acknowledge that every good thing that shows up in their life comes from God.
(Galatians 2:20) "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Do we really want people to "Be Real?" What if real means selfish, proud, greedy, and depraved?

We want people to be right with God through faith in Jesus Christ and to put off their pretense in humility and honesty. Then they will have a heart for the weighty matters of the law... justice, mercy and faith.

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