Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Christians, Weekday Pagans

"Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered!' - only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I Myself have seen it, declares the Lord."
- Jeremiah 7:6-11

Most of us will immediately associate these verses with the tradition of auricular confession, the belief that the priest can forgive all one's sins after confession. But it isn't just that superstition that is addressed here. Too many professing Christians of all stripes act like they get get a new supply of spiritual get-out-of-jail-free cards whenever they go to church on Sunday, so that they can cover their unchristian actions during the week. "Want to cheat your customer? Go ahead, you still have credit at the Jesus Bank and Trust". And we have all seen the reckless driver with the "God is my co-pilot" and "child on board" bumper stickers. And what about the person who acts haughty to a waiter or salesperson, but then adopts angelic humility when he or she walks in the church door?

The great commentator Matthew Henry says, in part, regarding this passage: "The privileges of a form of godliness are often the pride and confidence of those that are strangers and enemies to the power of it. It is common for those that are furthest from God to boast themselves most of their being near to the church. They are haughty because of the holy mountain (Zep. 3:11), as if God's mercy were so tied to them that they might defy his justice."

The passage to which he refers (Zephaniah 3:11-13) gives us the alternative: "On that day you shall be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and holy. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid."

God is not fooled by your Sunday religion. Are you?

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