I have been noticing a lot of modern-day Pharisees lately. Who were the Pharisees of Jesus’ time? The Pharisees had artificial moral constructs, in which they added to God’s law. The Pharisees were anti-evangelical, they did not seek to save the lost. The Pharisees only did works to be seen of men, not private works to be seen by God. The Pharisees were prideful and hateful. And most significantly — the Pharisees rejected Jesus.
Pharisees are like cult leaders, they don’t want to help create converts to Jesus, they want to create followers of themselves. They want admirers and mini-clones of themselves.
Jesus’ harshest rebukes were for Pharisees — the ones who were likely to discourage his true followers.
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” –Matthew 23:13-14
Some people think it is a compliment if you compare them to a Pharisee, but as the passage indicates, the Pharisees were not saved! The Pharisees were prideful, having not the spirit of Christ. In trying to inflate themselves, they led people away from Christ.
Who does the Bible say is a sinner?
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” –Romans 3:23
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – I John 1:18
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” —
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;” –Romans 3:9
“But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” –Galatians 3:22
The example of Jesus’ Brethren – what did they preach?
The brothers of Christ perhaps had some reason to feel special or privileged. But no, James and Jude were some of the humblest servants of Christ following their conversions. James and Jude continually pointed Christians back to the source of their salvation, to the Lord Jesus.
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” –James 2:10
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation,
it was needful for me to write unto you,and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares,who were before of old ordained to this condemnation,ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,and denying the only Lord God,and our Lord Jesus Christ”. –Jude 1:3-4
Justification and Salvation
The Justification of sins comes only through Christ. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles consistently pointed people to Christ.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. –Romans 3:21-26