Jeremiah 2:22 - For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord GOD.
As I read this verse I thought about cleanliness and goodness. These things do not occur because we think so about ourselves. They are gotten only through salvation and a relationship with Christ.
God doesn’t look at the outside of a person but at their heart. (1Samuel 16:7) That should scare most people! We can fool man (and even ourselves) with our outward appearance and demeanor but God knows the motives of our heart, whether we are honest, truly kind, or putting on airs to make ourselves look good to others. He also knows whether we are right or wrong in our thinking. Do we know what truth is? With all the ideas in the world, some day everyone will know the truth. For some it will be good; for others not.
I’ve said this many times...because it is so true in God’s eyes...we can do no works of our own to receive the grace of God. We must receive His Son Jesus. It’s not about a religion but a relationship. It’s not about the rituals but the sacrifice...of our old lives and thoughts for new ones. I saw this: Christianity is not religion. The Latin word from which the English word "religion" is derived means "to bind up." (Those are the rituals.) Jesus did not come to bind us up in rules and regulations or rituals of devotion, but to set us free to be man as God inended. (This comes with a relationship with Jesus.) - James A. Fowler
As was mentioned by a speaker at our annual church women’s retreat last Thursday night, sometimes we might think we are searching for God but it is actually He who is searching for us by His Spirit. Sometimes our hearts are opened to receive Him. Sometimes not. It is our choice to make. Do we want to know the truth or do we want to live believing the lies? Remember Pilate questioning what truth was?
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” ... (John 18:37-38) Truth stood before Pilate and he missed it. Jesus is also the way and the light. The light on our path. The way of righteousness and to life. The truth of God's Word...Jesus THE Word. I could go on with more...
So, rituals are the works that do not save. A truth. No amount of bringing sacrifices in the Old Testament could save Israel. They still had to come repeatedly to present their sacrifices to atone for their sins. Today no amount of good works, apart from God, hoping He will accept us will save us! We must come with nothing to offer but ourselves, broken, filled with humility, needing His help, seeking His forgiveness and repenting of our sins. Then we can be saved.
We've had several baptisms take place in church recently. These are not infant baptisms. These are adults or children of the age of reason choosing to live for Christ. Some are just that, children who have not yet gotten into the adult world of sin. The adults have all admitted lifestyles that were taking them down the wrong roads, heading into destruction. They realized a need for Christ to save them, not some 10-step program or psychiatric care or hospitalization. They wanted the healing that only Jesus can bring. They didn't want to just wash the outside, but the inside as well. Physical and spiritual.
Jesus seeks us. He doesn't want anyone to perish in their sin. But I know not all will heed His call. I know some so truly believe that they are good without God. This is a lie; probably the biggest lie the devil spreads. "Did God really say...?" (Genesis 3:1)
Matthew 23:27 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”