Are you a believer? Are you a child of God, bought and
purchased by the blood of Christ? Are you redeemed and have received salvation
through grace and not by the law or good works? If so, then you know you are under
the new covenant (blood of Christ) and not the old covenant (Old Testament laws).
I recently entered a ‘conversation’ that revolved around
people who are Believers, but who have chosen to judge or condemn others based on laws of the OT (specifically Leviticus). Laws in Leviticus were very specific on rituals to perform after childbirth, what was allowed to be eaten, and offering sacrifices on an altar, etc. The problem with trying to uphold any of these laws, they must
realize they are now selecting to ‘overlook’ Jesus’ crucifixion on the
that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him
with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And
the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the
Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:34-40 NIV)
If we love GOD first and then love our neighbor next, we will
never fall out of GOD’s will for our lives. When you are loving; you
are not judging, you are not hating, you are not coveting, you are not sinning.
When you are busy loving GOD and others, you don’t have time for all the stuff
we shouldn’t be doing. Where our focus is, where our thoughts are, that’s where
our heart is. So if we focus on GOD, if we are thinking of HIM and others before
ourselves, our heart will follow; thus our words and actions will follow.
Religion is a cold and ritualistic burden, that is why I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.“Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees
and Sadducees.”….”Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So
again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at
last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but
about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ (Matthew
16:6, 11-12 NLT) The term yeast was often used in the Bible as an evil connotation, as to what is small, may corrupt the whole. We see that a lot today in terms of laws being created based on minority beliefs and not on the majority's.
Salvation is not based on rules and regulations; salvation is
through grace. Faith cannot be seen and when our relationship with GOD is based on laws, we
start to fall into the trap of the Pharisees. Agape love is selfless love (without a personal agenda and
what can I get out of this attitude). Law is restrictive and binding, law sees
right and wrong and doesn’t have room for love - but JESUS said that LOVE is to be first! Sin is a flesh and worldly desire. Repentance is a heart movement, if a
believer sins, they will know they have sinned and they will ‘ache’ in the
spirit and want to right their wrong; you can't have repentance if you don't have love.
One thing that we see in the New Testament that angered JESUS, was the burden the Pharisees were putting on man. JESUS came to earth to
save the people, not to burden or condemn them. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees.
Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces.
You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either……. “What
sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For
you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into
twice the child of hell you yourselves are! “What sorrow awaits you teachers of
religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even
the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important
aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not
neglect the more important things. Blind
guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you
swallow a camel! “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you
Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup
and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You
blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the
outside will become clean, too. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious
law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful
on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts
of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts
are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:13-15, 23-28 NLT)
Our heart is what GOD is concerned with, our heart for GOD!
First we must concentrate on the inside, the heart and when the heart is right
with GOD, the outside will change to be more like GOD as well!
Jesus returned to the
Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A
crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious
law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of
adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus,
“this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone
her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they
could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his
finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All
right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he
stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning
with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers?
Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus
said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
(John 8:1-11 NLT)
Here is another example from Jesus that specifically
instructs us NOT to judge others….
“Do not judge, or you
too will be judged. For in the same way
you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be
measured to you. “Why do you look at the
speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in
your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of
your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You
hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see
clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is
sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under
their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
(Matthew 7:1-6 NIV)
How can we love others and lead them to Christ if we are
condemning them? How can we share GOD’s love when we are burdening people with
laws and regulations? I’m not saying go against the Bible; I’m saying we cannot share GOD’s love if we are judging. We are to open our
arms and share love; if someone is sinning, GOD will speak to that Believer and
deal with them. I’m not saying you should encourage a Believer to sin or even
turn a blind eye (I am not talking about sins that HARMS a person). Think
prejudice, people have thoughts on piercings, tattoos and both of those are tied into OT Leviticus laws and have nothing to do with modern day tattoos and piercings, but yet people are so fired up over these issues that they are allowing the yeast of the Pharisees to hardened their hearts and cast judgement.
People are getting riled up about the wrong stuff, that have nothing to do with the heart of GOD. Doctrines are being
preached that are against the Word of GOD, people are claiming to be christian
believers and are preaching hate instead of LOVE! These are the kind of things that people should be riled up about, these are the things that will lead a non-believer away from JESUS, or turn a Believer away from GOD. I can only imagine the tears
in heaven over the division in the church and what she has become. As Believers, we are the church, we need to show the world that we are LOVE!! We need to be fired up for GOD and fired up for showing GOD's love for others!!