Forgiveness vs. Justification. Please God vs. Please people.

Love God and love people, the two greatest commandments. I never realized until recently how important that order is. I have always known that loving God first is important, but I thought that it's just as important to love people. But we should love people out of our love for God.

 

If you love God first, you will love people because it pleases God. If you love people first, you will love God because it pleases people. People sometimes pretend to love God because they will get more respect from other Christians, but not know they are doing it. I have heard sermons preached that seemed like they were written to make the congregation impressed with the speakers knowledge or relationship with God. When a Christian band gets on stage and says 'Jesus' it gets a thousand cheers and they sell a hundred records, whether they meant it or not. Some people stand up during worship because if they stayed seated it would seem as if they aren't worshiping God.

 

A lot of us are taught that we shouldn't worry about what the world thinks of us but we should just honor God. I agree. But how often do we worry about what the church thinks of us? How often does our fear of seeming 'less-Christian' stop us from honoring God?

 

If God calls you to be a office employee and you take the pastoral position, I would say that you are seeking to please people over God. You are seeking to look like a great Christian in front of people.

 

People have told me they look up to my relationship with God. I know why they do, it's because anyone can look like a great Christian if they blog around 500 words every few weeks about God. They don't see what goes on in my heart. Sometimes, without knowing it, I blog for my audience, if I haven't blogged in a while I come up with something to write. I write for them, not God. I used to write when God taught me something, now I try to force up a lesson about God. I miss just seeing everything in life as a lesson. I want it back, I know it'll come. I just need to worry about loving God above everything else, pleasing Him and only Him.

 

When we get in a argument with someone we usually try to get a second opinion and try to convince that second opinion that we are right in our actions. We have a longing for justification from our actions.

 

We don't go to God for justification because God knows we are wrong and will be honest with us. If our actions aren't justified, that means we will have to face up to our wrongs and that is never fun. So we go to people, that don't know the whole story, and look for their justification. If we can convince someone else we are good Christians, then in a sense we have convinced ourselves. This is what drives us, this is what drives me. We write sermons, make quotes, say lengthy prayers, read the Bible, write worship songs, give to the poor, don't sin and whatever else we can do to convince ourself and others that we are good people. After sinning we don't seek forgiveness but justification.

 

Jesus said to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees, He also said that unless you exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees were the Pastors and worship leaders of Bible times. They memorized scripture, gave to the poor, obeyed the laws and taught others to also do so, they prayed long prayers, they worshiped at church and Jesus says we have to be better than them?

 

The yeast of the Pharisees is loving God because you are trying to please people. The Pharisees got their second opinion that they were good and that was good enough for them. They convinced themselves and others that they are good people. Exceeding their righteousness is by seeking the opinion of the only one who matters, Jesus. Exceeding their righteousness is not convincing people you are righteous, but convincing yourself that Jesus made you righteous.

 

your friend,

 

-Isaac

 

Side note: the thing that makes us believe we are not like the Pharisees is that we believe the Pharisees did it intentionally, sought out to be like they were. I believe they didn't know what they were doing. It took me a few months to have God just say "look at your heart". It's very easy to be in a church for a period of time and hear people say nice things about you but forget to seek out what God thinks about you. Are we obeying the laws of our church, our legalism, our social circles? That will start to make you feel safe. But are we seeking to please God instead of people, instead of legalism and churches? Without Faith it is impossible to please God. It's not the laws and our actions that please God the most, it's our faith that His son didn't justify our sins but forgave our sins. That the law and rules didn't make us righteous but His son made us righteous because there is no way we can do it ourselves.