Weekly Devotional – Wednesday, March 23, 2022
“God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11, NLT)
If anyone was in God’s good books, surely it was the Pharisees and religious leaders. They were the experts in God’s Laws; their sole occupation was to teach the people how to live in obedience to God; they were strict in their adherence not only to the written Torah as contained in the Scriptures, but were equally committed to obeying the Oral Torah, which detailed the rules for adhering to each of the 613 laws…and of which there were many more.
But even a quick reading of Jesus’ interactions with these highly educated and religious men leaves one with no doubt concerning Jesus’ stand. For all their study, most had entirely missed the point. They thought their deeds, or rather lack of ‘bad’ behaviour, made them ‘good.’ They deemed ‘sinners’ to be ‘scum.’ They paraded their religious observances and relished in the respect and even fear of the people. But in God’s eyes, they were no better off than the people they condemned.
Their overt concern for outward appearances might bring the homage of the crowds, but that wasn’t of greatest concern to God. Jesus accused them of being beautiful tombs…but still filled with dead men’s bones. God wasn’t fooled by their glossy finish; he knew the condition of their hearts. In their arrogance, they looked down on ‘sinners,’ demanded strict adherence to their interpretation of the Law and yet remained blind to the truth…and entirely missed out on recognizing the Messiah.
There are times we fall into the Pharisaical trap, acting as though our good behaviour somehow earns us brownie points with God. No, we’re not perfect, but we have a ready list of individuals over whom we are most definitely superior. Really? When we see our sin in contrast to God’s goodness, we understand that we will never be good enough…not one of us. God looks at us and sees us for what we are…fallen and broken humanity. The only thing that can truly be counted as good in us, is Christ’s righteousness…and there is absolutely no means of taking credit for this gift given to us through simple belief.
There is absolutely no place for the Christian to look down on another—Christian or non-Christian. Following Jesus’ does not provide us with exclusive God perks. And we can’t stake claim to any ‘goodness’ that is in us. All credit belongs to God. There is no room for preening…just humble gratitude that God would choose us as his daughters and sons.
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!