The Pharisees (just like the Sadducees) were the ruling class in Israel. The Pharisees believed that they kept all God’s rules and commandments. Among other things, the Bible made the following point clear about them;
“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men than the praise of God” – John 12:42-43
The Pharisees (according to the above Scriptures) love the praise of men; they value prestigious position among men over their identity with Jesus Christ. They feared excommunication from the synagogue (which was their livelihood) than God. They would rather remain in their livelihood (the synagogue) and turned their backs on God.
Jesus Christ (the Truth) said that the Pharisees were ‘whited sepulchers and hypocrites’. Matthew 23:29; Matthew 23:23. Jesus Christ seemed to drop the ‘bomb shell’ when He said that no believer who operates at the level of the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees will make it to heaven. Matthew 5:20
The Pharisees were content to obey the laws outwardly without allowing the Word of God to change their hearts. They appear pious on the outward but are far from God in their hearts; where the true allegiance to God ought to be. Our righteousness should be:
- God-centered and not self-centered;
- Beyond keeping the law to living by the principles behind it;
- Based on reverence and love for God and not approval from people.
Life is an opportunity to determine our eternity. God’s servant – Pastor (Mrs) Faith Oyedepo said; “Life is a waste without heaven in view”.
Ceremonial Christianity is not acceptable to the Master! It will not qualify any believer for heaven.
Scriptures for meditation: Matthew 23:1-39; Luke 11:37-54
Jesus is Lord!