WARNING AGAINST RELIGIOUS LEADERS
As Jesus continued to teach at the temple court, He warned the people against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders, "Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely." (Mark 12:38-40) How could the religious leaders in the day of Christ become so corrupt? What had happened to them? They knew the Laws of God, but they weren't practicing them; instead, they lived in hypocritical life. The reason was that they fell into religiosity. Religion is always based on its relationship with God through good performances, good works, and practicing rituals. Religious people believe that I can follow all the good works and practice all the rituals. And I am good no matter what I do.
True Christianity is based on a relationship with Christ Jesus through faith in Him and not based on good works, good performances, and practicing rituals. When a person genuinely believes in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God will come into that person and begins to change the person's heart. The person then will grow in his/her love for God, and that love will make him/her obey God. The person no longer relies on his/her good works, good performances, or practicing rituals because he/she already has a relationship with God through faith alone. For example, I obey God because I love Him. I will always be God's child because He loves me. He will never let me go and will always be with me forever. My relationship with Him is not based on good works, good performances, and practicing rituals, but in my faith alone in Christ Jesus. There are many times I fail or sin because of my self-centeredness, but that does not stop me from being His child. I will always be His child because I have a relationship with Him, not a religion.
We must continue to rely on our salvation in Christ Jesus alone through our faith in Him because He did everything for us on the cross to save us. And we need the Holy Spirit to come into us to change our hearts and renew our minds. And that can only happen when we put our faith in Christ. Religion does not change our hearts like what happened to the religious leaders in the time of Christ. They tried to be saved through good performance, good works, and practicing rituals, and they failed miserably and became hypocrites and enemies of Christ Jesus.
Ask yourself these questions: What is the danger of being a religious person? What can I do to be saved and have a relationship with God? What is the reason I obey God?
Write down all the worries you are facing today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you that my relationship with you is through faith in Christ Jesus. Thank you that you are the one that helps me to obey you by sending your Holy Spirit into my life to change my heart and renew my mind daily. I obey because I love you, and you love me. I do not obey you so that you can accept me because I am already your precious child. I thank you that my relationship with you is forever, no matter what happens in this world. In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.