April 04, 2007

Am I A Pharisee?

The answer I would give would be absolutely and not only that but I struggle with it most of the time. The reason I believe this is so because I am of a species called "human" and that I continue to "work out my salvation with fear and trembling". Meaning that I continue to try to put to death the old man and put on the new man.

I think it is very easy, and very destructive as a Christian, that when you hit a period in your life where you have experienced "sweet" spiritual moments with God, managed daily sin well, read your Bible, had good prayer times, etc to sit back and to begin to think that you accomplished something in it. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

John Piper recently did a sermon on this passage and this is what he had to say: (The full sermon can be found here)

And so are so many people today, who are turning away from the doctrine of justification by faith alone on the basis of Christ alone. What Jesus wants us to see here is that how righteous you are, or how moral you are or how religious you are or whether God has produced that in you or you have produced that in yourself—that is not the basis of your justification before God. That is not how you are accepted and declared righteous in God’s law court.

The issue is: Are you looking totally away from yourself? When you see yourself standing before the holy Judge, and you know that to escape condemnation you must be found righteous in this all-knowing, infinitely-just court, what are you going to look to and trust in? I am pleading with you on behalf of Jesus this morning that for your justification you not look at or trust in what God has worked in you. But that you look at and trust in Christ alone and all that God is for you in him

And that is the issue we must come to terms with. As soon as we look to anything that we do as of value or lasting in our justification before God or look to anything we do as improving our standing before God, we become "refuge" and "Pharisee minded". And the bad part is, I believe, there is not a "putting to death" of this struggle. This is something, because at the root of it is pride, that we will war against all of our days and in all of churches. The degree to which you, me, and the church will be "missional" is solely dependent on the degree to which we look to Christ as justifier and our redeemer.

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