Concerning the religion of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus remarked, “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). When we look at some of the religious people today, are we any better when we compare the two?
If we do not study our Bibles regularly, then we are no better than the Catholics. They encourage their followers to ingest their spiritual instructions straight from the priest, and do not encourage personal study. In fact, they abuse Second Peter 1:20-21 in stating that it is impossible for an average person to understand the Bible—only one of the clergy can properly interpret and teach its meaning. Therefore, to a Catholic, they discourage Bible study throughout the week and encourage instruction to come from someone else. Nevertheless, if we as Christians do not open our Bibles throughout the week and study it ourselves, but only ingest what the local preacher in the congregation says, then we are no better than they are!
If we do not sing in worship, then we are no better than the Baptists (or any other religions that use choirs). Large congregations with praise bands and choirs simply want the worshipper to sit back and relax while others praise God. To the contrary, Paul commanded, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16). We are to sing and praise God to “one another,” something of which we can only do when we all sing together. I am amazed at some brethren who do not sing because they “cannot carry a tune in a bucket.” God could care less about the melody from your mouth—he is interested in the song on your heart! Nevertheless, if we as Christians do not open our mouths to sing, we might as well have a chorus or choir sing to us—there is no difference, and we are no better than they are!
If we do not believe in the providence of God in our lives with faith, trust and hope, then we are no better than deists are. Deism is simply the doctrine that God created man and placed us on the earth for his perusal—He does not interact with humanity at all. Well, some Christians have so little faith in the providence of God working in their lives and live their lives with fear and doubt rather than with trust and hope, they are no different than deists are.
If we do not live our lives carefully every day, then we are no better than Calvinists are. One of the prominent themes of Calvinism is the perseverance of the saints, also known as “once saved, always saved.” They believe that a child of God cannot sin to lose his soul. Yet, in the way that some Christians are living their lives recklessly, they might as well believe in that horrible false doctrine, since they are living as if they believe it!
Considering the religions around us, are we any better?