Those super religious guys in the Bible were serious about being amazing followers of God. I’m sure some were jerks about it as they proudly boasted in their works, but I imagine others were sincere in their efforts to do what they believed was right and honoring to God.
Sadly, most all of these missed out on knowing Jesus as their Savior because He didn’t fit what they had come to believe apart from God’s word. Their religion had become so humanly complex that there wasn’t room for Jesus the Messiah.
Said that way, and if you’re like me, it’s not a far leap to see myself in their shoes. I doubt many of us are as devout as they were, but we all struggle at replacing “knowing Jesus” with doing acts of religion. Often, they’re good acts too! Reading our Bibles, serving, fasting, attending church, tithing. The list of good things goes on and on. But something happens.
Our record of doing those good things becomes our Christianity. At one time we confessed our helplessness apart from Jesus, but now we believe it’s our ability to be a “Good Christian” that makes us secure before God. Yes, it was Jesus who let us in the door, but now we no longer believe we need the Christ of our Christianity.
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” ~ Matthew 7:22-23
What a sobering text.
Are your religious actions, preferences, or traditions making you miss Jesus instead of knowing Him more? It’s ironic how these things can even make us an enemy of Jesus and people.
Don’t get caught in those false beliefs that destroy us. Remain humble as one saved by grace and in constant need of the sustaining work of Jesus the Christ and nothing else. Then your good works will follow.