Christianity is a person centered religion.
The Pharisees could answer any Scriptural question
but they did not know the Lord.
We know the interpretation, but do we know the practice? It is great to work on hermeneutics—the rules of Bible interpretation. We must know the meaning of scripture, but that is critical because we aim at doing what the scriptures teach. Understanding is important only to enable us to do. What possible benefit is there in understanding if it does not translate into how we live.
We know the arguments, but do we know the attitudes? We are good at arguments. Attitudes, however, often suffer. We will hardly win an argument with God no matter how well we argue, and we will never argue our way into heaven! God looks on the heart; he sees our pride. It will not recommend us to God. We may win all our arguments —with all our arrogance and harshness and meanness, but then we have really lost the war.
We know doctrine, but do we know the character. Character is what we are —really are —what we are in the dark. Doctrine is vital because it teaches us what we must “be.” If we “learn ” without “becoming” we miss the boat! Paul declares that “love ”(a sense of values) is the more excellent part(1Cor.12:31-13:13). It is more excellent than the most impressive miraculous gift; it is more excellent than simple doctrine. Love (character) is where God’s doctrine has remolded our very being. It is where we reflect God’s image. It is what makes us the inheritance God wants — “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph.1:18) —His “holy nation, His own special people” (1Pet.2:9). We are not God’s people simply because we have a baptismal certificate or know the truth, but because we are becoming in character a special kind of people.
We know rituals but do we know worship of God. We know —having carefully examined scriptures— when, where, and how we should approach God in worship. We never deviate from those right things. And that is good —in fact, absolutely necessary. However, assemblies really become worship only when reverence for God is expressed, when a thankful heart prays, when awe struck people lift up and praise the name of God. Then —and only then are the assemblies of Christians worship.
The Pharisees also knew the scriptures, but they did not know the right way. They could answer any scriptural question, but they did not know the Lord. Jesus called them hypocrites(Mt.23:13-29) and a “brood of vipers !”(Mt.12:34). If all we know are the verses, the doctrine, the arguments, the rituals, how are we better than they? It may well be time to worry a bit.
Bible Comments, 35, a publication by Joe Fitch originally intended for distribution among small congregations in Texas.
Used here by kind permission.
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