Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on August 12, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
Leave a comment
Scripture: St. Matthew 23:23-26 (NKJV)
23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
“You…outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “It’s not if you win or lose; it’s how you look when you play the game.” I hope the words were meant sarcastically, but sarcastic or not, it points out how superficially so many people live. Jesus is rebuking, harshly, the scribes and Pharisees. They are guilty of a particular kind of superficiality: they are guilty of superficial righteousness. Outwardly they look good, but inwardly they are as disgusting as it gets.
The world loves to accuse Christians of that too, and in some cases the accusation looks like it might be warranted! We cannot hide our hearts and minds from God. He sees it all. No matter how well we “filter” ourselves for the rest of the world, God sees us on the inside. He knows how, and who, we really are. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7).
It is not enough just to look good. To stand before God we must be cleansed to the core. That is exactly what God has done for us in Christ Jesus; not just polished us up a bit, but made us new creations, complete with forgiveness of sins, new life, and eternal salvation.
Prayer: Grant to us, Lord, we beseech Thee, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do anything that is good without Thee, may by Thee be enabled to live according to Thy will; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment