A friend of mine told me a while back that there are many people who agree with his beliefs. He is, at best, a secular Christian who claims to believe in God but denies that Christ is God and rejects the notion of a physical resurrection, denies the existence of the Trinity and looks at scripture through the eyes of a worldly perspective.
He reminds me of many modern-day believers in that he believes in a type of God but he is uncertain of what he truly believes. He has told me on different occasions that there is a gap theory or before the creation of man, the dinosaurs walked the Earth but as a Christian, I know this is total nonsense and a perfect example of how Satan works.
When I think about some of our conversations, I remember telling him on multiple occasions that instead of bringing me something that man has written bring me scripture as if it’s not of scripture then it’s not of God. It’s important that we, as Christians, stay with the word of God rather than bringing the secular world into Christianity but sadly, too many church congregations and believers have accepted this.
While this is not an uncommon occurrence today, I think about the comment “many agree with me” and it reminds me of the book of Matthew and the way Christ scolded the religious leaders of his day. There are different times in Matthew when Christ acts differently than how most people think of especially in Chapter 23. The book of Matthew is one of the most important books in the entire Bible and the later in Matthew you go, the quicker it picks as Christ did not beat around any bush and was not afraid to call out the religious leaders who claimed to represent the people.
This is very similar to the fight that we face today whether it’s with the religious leaders or the political leaders. Both sets claim to represent the people but only a small number really does. The number is probably higher than we give it credit for but if the number is half than I would be amazed. In Matthew 23, we see Christ switching away from trying to get the Pharisees and the Scribes to listen to Him and focus His attention on the people: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples” (Matthew 23:1). While Christ did instruct His followers to respect those in power, it was not because they were deserving but rather, because the authority was ordained by God.
We see this too often today of those in power. Christ was not happy with the leadership of the religious church because they were bad examples. Like too many in leadership today, they expected more from the people than they did themselves which is one reason why Christ called them out and referred to them as hypocrites: “For they bind heavy burdens and grevious to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulder’s; but they themselves will not move them one of their fingers” (Matthew 23:4). Sadly, many in leadership whether it’s the church, politics, civic and community, or within the home, there are too many who have adopted the attitude of “do as I say and not as I do.”
Christ tells us in Matthew 11:30 that His burden is light but the burden of the religious leaders was heavy. Christ took the burdens from the people and He still does but the religious leaders of the day just as many today do not take burdens but they do bring them. Christianity, real Christianity, is not about a set of rules to follow but rather, is about following Christ. Peter asked the legalists of his days about the foundation of the Christian life, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).
Throughout the history of Israel, we see how the Jewish people were not able to carry out the law as they broke it time and time again whether it was worshipping the golden calf or marrying pagan women. Peter asks the simple question “why do you test God” illustrating that the law does not save us. The law itself cannot save us and we see this time and time again as, in the light of the finished work of God, returning to the law offends God and we know that it’s by grace that we are saved and not by works or deeds. However, we see that the religious leaders of Christ’s day were focused on being seen and lived for the praises of men: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of the garments” (Matthew 23:5).
Returning to the words of my friend about many people believe the way he does, yes, he’s correct. There are many different groups and cults who fall in line with his thinking but I am reminded that just because someone agrees with you does not make you right. There have been different times in my life when I had to walk alone or in a small crowd but later, it was discovered that I was not wrong. There were many that agreed with the religious rulers of the day but the one that truly mattered, Christ, did not, and if you do not agree with Him today then you are in the wrong regardless of how large your congregation and/or following is: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:5-7).