We’re continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. As we do so, we’re beginning to understand the problem of religion without a relationship with Christ.
Paul now asks some important questions for those who are self-righteous.
…you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
Remember what I mean by self-righteous religious people. I’m talking about those who have developed a set of rules that they think makes them better than everyone else.
One of the biggest problems is that these folks have a double standard. They understand the weakness and imperfection of their own humanity. So they judge themselves based upon their intentions. They want to do the right things.
But when it comes to others they have a different way of seeing things. They’ll judge you based upon what they see you do, regardless of your intentions.
That’s why Paul starts with a question about their desire to teach others. Do you teach the same standard to yourself that you hold up for others? Do you sin internally, while publically judging others for the same type of outward sin?
Religion gives the false impression that God grades on a curve. They think that as long as my good works outweigh my bad works, I’m okay in God’s eyes. Unfortunately, they forget one simple spiritual truth.
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
This is a major principle of the law. It only takes one sin to makes you a sinner. You only need to break one law to become a lawbreaker. That’s why we all need the Savior.
A type of movie that I enjoy watching is the organized crime (mafia) movie. I find it interesting that many of these crime bosses are deeply religious. They go to confession and give a great deal of money to their church.
They think that they’re okay. Their good works outweigh the bad. Religion lulls them into a false sense of security.
That’s why religion is the problem. It gives the world a bad view of Jesus Christ and Christianity.
As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
The word, blasphemed, means to vilify or speak bad about. The actual statement Paul makes is that God’s name is vilified through you.
Who is it that’s actually profaning the name of God? It’s the holier-than-thou religious people that the world is watching. They say, “These people think they’re better than us simply because they go to church.”
People in the world aren’t stupid. They see the double standard. They see the hypocrisy. It causes them to write off true Christianity.
As much as we’re able, we need to live for Christ according to Scriptural principles. That’s what Paul is leading up to in this letter. Be a true follower of Christ in this world.
Question: How do you stay clean from the hypocrisy of religion?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi