Although it should never be our intentions to do so, we all have hurt or insulted others by what we have said and what we have done. Sometimes we are unaware that we have insulted the offended party, and sometimes what we intended to be the means of edification has been taken the wrong way.
In our relationship with God, there is never a misunderstanding of what the intent of our hearts may have been as He is fully aware (even more than we are) of what the true motivations were that causes us to say what we say or do what we do. We can have the right motives, but still insult God through our ignorance or arrogance without even realizing it.
Sincerity does not prevent believers from insulting God. We can be sincerely wrong.
Sometimes, in order for us to understand why it is that God or others have been unwittingly insulted we must put ourselves in the shoes of the other person. In order to do this with people, it takes sympathy, empathy and compassion. In order to do this with God, we must develop the “mind of Christ” (1Cor.2: 16 NIV) that enables us to see things as He does.
Until we learn to perceive things as God does, we will never know how to please Him, and will be open to all kinds of deception (Prov.14: 12).
John 3:16 (NIV) tells us that “...God so loved the world that he gave us his one & only Son…”. This Gift was given in love and had no strings attached (Romans 5:8). It requires no “extended warranty insurance” (human works) because it cannot be revoked (Rom. 11:29), stolen (John 10:28) or separated from us (Rom. 8:39). The only requirement is that it be “received” (John 1:12NIV).
Consider how we would feel if we were to give a gift that cost us the best of what we had to offer, only to have the recipient fail to truly appreciate its value or the sacrifice you made to provide it.
Now add some salt to the wound and consider if the recipient through word or action demonstrated that it wasn’t good enough for them & exchanged it (divine grace) for something else (human works).
Whenever an individual through “religious” practices or rituals tries to improve or retain the Gift that God has given him, his actions are saying what He had given and/or the manner in which it was given was not quite good enough. (For purpose of definition, “religious” refers to anything that Man has added to or taken away from the Word of God.)
The truth that sets us free from such religious bondage (John 8:32) is that we are never any more or less saved than we were at the moment of our conversion. Any attempt to retain or to improve our gift is an insult to the Giver. Some would go as far as to say that such teaching and practices amount to blasphemy as it is an attack on the very nature & character of God.
When in His dying words, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “It is finished” (John 19:30 NIV), He meant exactly that. Our belief or disbelief settles the matter of salvation forever. Placing any other requirement in order to either obtain or retain salvation is the perhaps the greatest insult that someone who claims to be a Christian is capable of, yet through “religious” ceremonies & practices, many habitually do precisely that.
This area of the spiritual battlefield is one that Satan has infiltrated early on in the history of the Church (See Gal. 3:1). Satan continues to promote “religious” practices and rituals in the Christian Community to this very day (1Tim.4: 1).
What was said (Mark 7:7) of the Pharisees when the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth is just as applicable to many of those in the pulpits of the Christian Community of today.
We are infuriated when we meditate on the words uttered by those who crucified our Lord, but do we insult Him any less through the words & actions of our “religious” rituals and practices. Are we not attempting to add “filthy rags” (Isa.64: 6NIV) to His completed work accomplished on the cross?
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.