Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (KJV)
Religion can have people jumping through all kinds of hoops running here and there and involved in many types of activities i.e. conferences, meetings, etc., yet the heart can still be stony ground. As the Lord told Samuel, that man looks upon the outward appearance or actions, but God is pondering or looking upon every human heart. Paul in Romans Chapter 1 gives us a laundry list of the filth that man sunk into, but he warned religious people who condemned those things and practiced the same that they would not escape God’s Righteous Judgement. Paul said that the day is coming when God the Father will Judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the Gospel. Hypocrisy is a cruel thing for people to be caught in because it is so subtle that years can go by and one can rationalize it away. However, at the new birth, Jesus takes up residence in every heart that He adopts to Himself. Therefore, to think one can use religion to fool the Omnipotent Christ is absolute insanity. In Galatians 5:19-21, we find the sins of hatred, jealousy, and envy right alongside murder, fornication, witchcraft, and adultery. All of these things (in the heart and life) are the evidence of an unregenerate heart. The sin of the older son in Luke 15 was not the outward acts of his younger brother, but they were just as damming (hatred, jealousy, and envy). Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. He can clearly see all things. Everything is open before Him. And to Him we must explain the way we have lived. (ERV) Christ sent Prophet after Prophet to the children of Israel and each one He spoke through condemning their evil; they persecuted and killed because they did not want to change. No human being is the agent of their own change of heart (that can only be done by God) but that person must be willing to open the door for Christ to come in and facilitate a change in them. Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (KJV)
Listen to these words from Matthew Henry, “Now the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or the dressing up of a dead body, only for show. The top of their ambition was to appear righteous before men, and to be applauded and had in admiration by them. But, they were foul within, like sepulchres, full of dead men's bones, and all uncleanness: so vile are our bodies, when the soul has deserted them! Thus were they full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Hypocrisy is the worst iniquity of all other. Note, it is possible for those that have their hearts full of sin, to have their lives free from blame, and to appear very good. But what will it avail us, to have the good word of our fellow-servants, if our Master doth not say, Well done? When all other graves are opened, these whited sepulchres will be looked into, and the dead men's bones, and all the uncleanness, shall be brought out, and be spread before all the host of heaven, Jer_8:1, Jer_8:2. For it is the day when God shall judge, not the shows, but the secrets, of men. And it will then be small comfort to them who shall have their portion with hypocrites, to remember how creditably and plausibly they went to hell, applauded by all their neighbours.”
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We definitely need to remember this. Great thoughts!