Saturday, June 2, 2012

THE WEIGHTIER MATTERS (Part 2 of 2) By Olufunso J. Omidiran
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: JUSTICE AND MERCY AND FAITH. These you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone" (Matt 23:23 NKJ-emphasis mine).


The law (if peradventure we are to live in it) is made up of matters of varying degrees or weights. There are priorities and essential issues. The law of God is pure, just, perfect and holy (Psalm 19:7; Rom 7:12, 14), but the Old Testament Law was not an end in itself. It portrays God's hatred for iniquity and His demand for righteousness. However, this righteous demand of God has been met by Christ Jesus, the perfect God and Man who laid down His life as the ultimate sacrifice. Hence, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us that in the law of God 3 things are most fundamental: JUSTICE, MERCY AND FAITH. They are the weightier matters of the law. Unfortunately the scribes and Pharisees did not take what the Lord regards as weightier virtues into cognisance while pursuing their egoistic forms and traditions. They discarded the substance and chased after types and shadow.

JUSTICE: Equity, right judgment, ability to see rightly as the Lord sees. It is the just and right way of dealing with God and fellow men. In actual fact, it is only those who are humble and walking daily in the Spirit that can walk in justice or judgment. INJUSTICE makes men to abase wisdom and exalt folly in their life dealings, even to their own hurts. Many of God's children are not left out of this quagmire. Justice is our ability to admit our total failure weaknesses while acknowledging God's holiness, faithfulness and power to help us out. “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Corinthians 11:31). Justice demands that you judge yourself first rather than look for the fault of others; it entails that you should be sincere with yourself. It is sheer injustice to oneself if we hate the truth and do not RUN AWAY from the path of sin and destruction. This the Pharisees and scribes of this world will not do!

MERCY: Divine benevolence and compassion. Every religion of men that thrives on works, sacrifice and self-righteousness without dependence on God's mercy is a grand failure. God desires mercy above sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Psalm 40:6; Matthew 12:7). In fact God accepts our sacrifice, first of all, because He is being merciful on us! We are not worshipping Him on the basis of our own worthiness, but because He has accepted us in the Beloved (Christ): He receives us because He loves us and is merciful to us (Ephesians 1:6).
Behold, men shouldn’t take glory to themselves when they are alive according to God's mercy. 'Mercy rejoices over judgment'(James 2:13). Why then do some Christians pride themselves over what they seem to have achieved in this world? They are ignorant of God's mercy. Some even feel superior to others because of their level of 'spirituality', ‘faith’ or ‘revelation’. This is very dangerous and foolish. This is the lifestyle of scribes and Pharisees: they seemed to be exalting God while they had actually left Him out of the scheme of things! They were living onto themselves. Their sacrifice was a waste before God. ARE YOU NOT ALSO A MODERN-DAY PHARISEE?

FAITH: Faith is to believe, rely or trust in God in spite of all odds (Mark 11:22-24). To have faith in God is to make Him our fortress or stay. God is not pleased with those who don't rely on Him. He is literally put off. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that HE IS and that HE IS a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6) "...For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of souls" (Hebrews 10:37, 38). We’ve got to take God for whom His Word says HE IS.

With these 3 basic fundamentals in place―Justice, Mercy and Faith― we shall not be trapped in the web of empty religion or be lawless before HIM. The Pharisees seemed to be masters in religion and unwary folks acknowledged them as such. They were full of pride and looked down on others as inferior, but unfortunately they were abominable before the Almighty! However, we are due for divine acceptance, if we seek God after the due order. Now is the time. Shalom!

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