So let’s take a note: Jesus commended...and rebuked the religious leaders of Israel.
Matt 23:23-26 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. NIV
See here what Jesus said. Good job, bad job! More important was how He contrasted justice, mercy, and faithfulness to the less important; compassion versus religious duties; love vise law.
How different are we. Just like the Jews we skim past the weightier obligations of our religions opting for religion over love. They knew they were chosen, so many scriptures became inconsequential like Is 58 demanding mercy for the broken, oppressed and poor. But how are we different when we know we are approved by God because we “believe” in Jesus? We read though Matt 25:34-46 “When you have done this to the least of these you have done it unto me.” with blindness.
Recently my friends were in a small group of good experienced Christians. When the study drew attention to this scripture in Matt 25 they were in shock scurrying for explanations that got them off the hook. Their response is what I’ve found to be typical amongst us Christians; completely blind in our assumed orthodoxy. However, proper orthopraxy shows true orthodoxy.
If it were only a difference between good and better it wouldn’t be an issue worth attention in my estimation. But it is the difference between salvation and damnation. Now just as Jesus had a great difficulty convincing the Jew of this, the Christian is no different. We have had years of indoctrination such that we no longer can see.
He rebuked them for their lack of justice, mercy and faithfulness and then announced the core of the matter being, greed and self-indulgence. I’m sure they did not see themselves in the same light. Do not you think they would have argued the point? I think they saw themselves as good people and sincere believers, obedient to their religion like us.
Can you see? Would not we similarly object? Some object even in this reading with indoctrinated, practiced sound bites. These are mere talking points, not sound doctrine. Will we get off any easier than they?
We should be leaders in benevolence and service but we aren’t. If we were we would be leaders, standing against injustice yet we don’t. We would be known for our mercy but none venture to generalize us this way. They would know us for our power of innovation in solving social issues at the grass roots but no one considers us even to get assistance in such ventures. The fact is we are ignorant of these issues without concern for our malpractice.
I asked a Christian-who I think has more experience than 80% of the Christians I’ve met and discussed these issues-“How do we stand against injustice as Christians, what are the issues? He was stymied. He finally mentioned abortion. Then I went on to tell the various injustices that are typical. He was shocked. But how could he know? He isn’t close enough to the broken and down trodden. This is true in spite of the fact that he serves at a soup kitchen regularly. And what makes it worse is he, like many of us do not know it is our mandate.
If your Christianity only amounts to dogma, baptism, communion, tithing, Church attendance and the like, you may as well be a Buddhist or Muslim. If your righteousness doesn’t surpass that of a Pharisee we may as well assume the position at the precipice of Hell with them waiting for judgment.
The faith that God accepts as true results in active sacrificial living. This was exemplified by the Living Word.
Do not depend on a profession of faith and dogma. They do not save!
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