“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites ! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee ! First clean the inside of the cup and dish , and then the outside also will be clean.”
The religion of the Pharisees is a religion of hypocrisy and superficiality. It has no true root of righteousness. It only appear good on the outside but when you look deeper into the inside, it is full of greed and self-indulgence. The heart of a man is by nature evil. It is deceitful above all things. Its intentions and inclinations are always adverse from the will of God. Apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the evils in a human heart will just multiply as time goes on. The human heart apart from the grace of God is full of greed, idolatry, lusts, covetousness, self-centeredness, self-indulgence. The human heart is really a great darkness. Only by God’s power it can be changed. The human heart must be pierced by the Word of God to experience regeneration. It must be circumcised by the Spirit of God in order to be transformed.
A man just like the Pharisees, which has a religion but has not experienced genuine spiritual rebirth, possesses an unregenerated heart which is full of greed and self-indulgence. A man may profess a Christian faith, but still may possess an unregenerated heart. Profession of Christianity, posting Christian messages on Facebook, quoting of Biblical passages, or godly quotations from a man of God, is not an evidence of genuine faith. We must examine deeper what is in his heart. What are the inclinations and intentions of his heart. Is it to constantly covet, to desire money, to possess material things at the expense of compromising Biblical principles.
I have known a man who is fond of quoting godly messages from the men of God, but when you examine closely his life it is full of greed and self-indulgence. He has no time to attend worship service, most of his time are spent on earning money. Most of his free time are just spent on Facebook. He has no time to make disciple or preach the Gospel. What can you say about that man ? Yet he is professing that he is a Christian but has no time to worship God on Sundays and has no heart for the Great Commission.
For the first seven years of my life professing Christianity, I live as a Pharisee professing faith but has no genuine righteousness. I attended worship service regularly, I sang in the choir, I joined the church evangelism ministry, I even did my prayer time and quiet time regularly yet my heart is full of lusts and selfish ambitions. In satisfying my lusts, I practiced a sinful habit which is so detestable to God. How could this be ? How could this happen to a professing Christian who attends church regularly, doing her prayer time and quiet time, doing evangelism and ministry work. Yes it did happen to me. Having practiced these religious activities is still not an evidence that you are a true saved Christian. I have realized I have not yet experienced genuine spiritual rebirth for all those years. After seven years of professing Christianity I got genuinely born again with an assurance of God’s love and forgiveness. That is the only time I experienced true transformation in my heart. That is the only time I became victorious over my sinful habits and selfish ambitions.
My heart was terribly evil, but when it was pierced by the power of the Word of God, it was completely transformed. The Word of God has pierced the darkness of my heart. It is completely a work of God. True spiritual rebirth is wholly a work of God and it results to genuine righteousness. Religion is a work of man and it results to hypocrisy and superficial righteousness.