Monday, October 18, 2010

For the Hypocrite, Even Easy Religion Is Just Too Hard!

"[They] say to the seers, 'Do not see,' and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions...'"
- Isaiah 30:10

The hypocritical believer continues his attachment to the Covenant of Works, believing that his own righteousness will carry him to heaven. Yet, such persons clamor for a lowering of God's standards. Picture the pole-vaulter in the Olympics, assuring everyone that he can overleap the bar at its competitive height, yet still begging to have it lowered.

I think this is part of what Paul talks about in Romans 2:15. From the rankest unbeliever to the purest hypocritical professor, a man's conscience knows that he has not lived without sin. But the fallen man seeks that righteousness which was forfeited by Adam in the Garden. Finding that he cannot live that righteousness, he seeks to have the standard lowered to his own level. And he rebels against that true believer who testifies against his unrighteousness, whether by word or just by contrasting lifestyle. We have all heard the codewords: "puritanical," "intolerant." He is inventive in exalting himself over the believer, because the truths that he hears from the believer prick his conscience and trip up his self-righteousness.

The Covenant of Grace holds forth God's way of salvation by free grace alone: "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1) How hard it is for fallen man to receive what is free, because he has deceived himself into believing that he has wealth. It is as Jesus said to the Church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:17, "You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."

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