Thursday, April 30, 2020
As the Apostle John introduces us to Christ, he uses the testimony of the forerunner of Christ, John the Baptizer, to reveal a significant and vital truth for us to grasp. It is a truth that will be carried throughout the Gospel.
Religious tradition means nothing without spiritual transformation.
Look at the testimony of John the Baptizer as he responds to the religious establishment’s questions.
John 1:26,33 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know…I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’
Religion is all about outward appearances. Jesus is all about spiritual transformation.
If you are trusting in what your religion can do to give you the appearance of righteousness, but have never had your heart and mind transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, then you have misplaced your faith on what cannot save you.
Later in the Gospel, overthrows religious traditions in the temple. Jesus will make bold statements about those who trust in religious laws, declaring they are sons of their father the Devil. In one of the other Gospels Jesus declares that those who put on the appearance of righteousness are like whitewashed tombs – clean on the outside but inside full of dead men’s bones.
My friend, in what are you trusting for your righteousness before God? Obedience to the law doesn’t grant righteousness, for none of us has ever in the past, nor can we ever from this point forward, keep the law completely. That fact makes us unrighteous. Conformity to religious ritual does not bring the righteousness of God. Those who declared and promoted such thinking were specifically judged by Jesus as dead in their sin.
Dear Friend, there is only one Hope for us. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin. He rose from the dead to provide eternal life for us. Put your faith in Jesus to make you righteous before God. At the moment of repentance from your old beliefs, and placing your trust in Jesus to save you, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit and be made a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The Holy Spirit transforms you from the inside out. Every other option starts from the outside, and Jesus said that all such outside options are thieves and robbers seeking to destroy you.
Today, let go of your confidence in religion and its traditions. Grab hold of Jesus. Your life will be transformed.