This devotional was delivered to my inbox this morning from Grace Gems.
I love this ministry and all that they do, but when I got this this morning, I wanted to spit nails. The part that I take particular issue with is in bold at the end:
Many people set a great deal more stress on religious rituals, than upon practical obedience. They will be faithful in attendance upon church services, devout and reverent in worship–and yet in their daily life, they will disregard the plain commandments of God! They fill the week with selfishness, pride, bitterness, and evil-speaking, and then go to church on Sunday, with great show of devotion, to engage in the worship of God!
But what God desires before our worship can be acceptable, is that we obey what He commands us. He bids us to love one another, to be unselfish, patient, kind, honest, pure, true; and unless we obey these commands, our religious rituals, no matter how conspicuous, how costly, how seemingly devout and reverent, are not acceptable to God!
There are many other phases of the truth. It is exact obedience which God desires, and not something else of our own substituted. When he tells a mother to care for her child, He is not satisfied if she neglects that duty to attend church. When God wants a man to help a poor family in some obscure street, He is not satisfied if instead of that lowly service, the man does some brilliant thing that seems to bring ten times as much honor to the Lord.
The supreme thing in Christian life–is to obey God; without obedience nothing else counts. The obedience must also be exact, just what God commands, not something else.
“If you love Me–you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15
With all do respect, this is absolutely wrong wrong wrong and I have no beef in saying so.
If you tell believers this, you are setting them up to be ensnared in a superficilal “by the numbers” religion that only further plunges them into self made, self righteous, and ultimately condemning legalism which only tells them when they sin, God is going to meet them with a club and whallop them for disobeying.
That’s a lie out of the pit of he’ll and it smells like smoke.
The supreme cause in the Christian life is to love God through His Son’s good gospel. The fight of our lives is not to just obey for the sake of fear of being pummeled when we screw up; the fight is to believe the gospel on a moment by moment basis and to then obey Him as a direct result out of that love and thankfulness for what He has provided on the cross.
Sorry y’all, that really burned my britches.