Justified Journal

Just another WordPress.com weblog

You might be a Pharisee if …

You might be a Pharisee if …

  1. You speak out against Christians who exercise the freedom they have been given in Christ
    1. examples: Don’t Drink, Don’t smoke, Don’t listen to secular music, Don’t watch movies
  2. You refer to a theology not based on Scripture.
    1. Many Modern American Evangelicals have received a theology not based on Scripture.  I call this the American Evangelical Talmud because it echoes the 613 laws that were added to the Bible by the Jews.  Jesus confronted the Pharisees who attempted to use this “law” to accuse Jesus and His followers.  Jesus addresses them using THE Law of God as seen in the 10 commandments (Mark 7:1-23).
  3. You have never, not once, ever questioned your faith.  If a question comes up regarding a practice or belief, you simply dig in your heels.
  4. You use theology to maintain your power and authority over others.  You put a yoke on people that you cannot even bear.
  5. You reject the premise that the Scripture is ‘God-breathed’.  Instead, you turn the Bible into a list of moral dictates without a Savior.
  6.  All Pharisees set aside incarnation.  This is an ancient heresy called ‘Nestorianism’.
  7. You excuse the sin of judgmentalism and condemn ‘gross sins’.  Thus, you can agree with Paul as he writes to the Corinthians, but reject his letter to the Galatians.
  8. Having begun by the Spirit … you are now being perfected by the flesh.  That is, you ‘received Christ’ in conversion, but now live according to dictates in order to keep yourself pure.  This denies the work of Christ, who is the author and perfecter of faith.
  9. You lack the ability to be self-reflective.

This are simply observations.  They are not ‘nine commandments’ to be avoided.  Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can set us free from the flesh.  This He does by burying us in the waters of Baptism and resurrecting us to new life through the very same waters.  What is impossible for man is possible for God.

Wise guy

Blessed are those who find wisdom,

those who gain understanding,

for she is more profitable than silver

and yields better returns than gold.

She is more precious than rubies;

nothing you desire can compare with her.

  • Proverbs 3:13-15

A movement developed in the United States in the middle of the twentieth century to return to classical literature.  Discussion groups were formed (what we now call “book clubs”) to explore the ideas of the most important thinkers throughout history.

Mortimer Adler was an educator who developed an entire program based on these books and even edited a series called the Great Books of the Western World.  Adler’s intent was to help people gain wisdom by reading the great thinkers in fields like mathematics, philosophy, history, theology, literature and science.  He believed that if you were exposed to the people who conceived of new ideas, you would grow in wisdom.

Wisdom was important to many in that generation.  In our generation, wisdom and intellectual pursuits have been left to the academics.  There is just no time to read a great book, let alone talk about one for two hours.  There are better things to do with my time!

Adler once observed that people aren’t ready for ‘Adult Education’ (i.e., reading great literature and discovering) until they are in their early 30’s.  By this time, they had kids, lost their parents, and had work responsibilities that weren’t always fulfilling.  They would search for a ‘deeper meaning’ to life.

A proverb is ‘a short well-known saying containing a wise thought’ (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proverb).  Think of these; ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, ‘A book is like a garden carried in the pocket’, ‘A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark’.

The Old Testament book of Proverbs expresses some of these ‘bit-sized’ sayings to meditate on.  As Christians, we can learn a lot from Proverbs.  Heck, even the anti-religious individual will find benefit from reading this book.

We can grow in wisdom and still find we are lacking.  But the Proverbs, as well as the entire Old Testament points to a future reality.  Wisdom is personified in the Proverbs as a woman.  This is significant because women have been seen throughout the centuries as the personification of beauty.  It links to deep desire.  The author is making the point that wisdom should be desired in the same way.  There is great beauty in wisdom.

As we look to the New Testament, wisdom becomes personified again.  In Colossians 2 starting at the end of verse two, we read, ‘… Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ 1 Corinthians 1:24b states, ‘Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’.  Jesus is the incarnation of wisdom.  The key is, He doesn’t look like wisdom: ‘we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’ (1 Cor. 23b).

A crucified God seems like no God at all.  Calling a defeat a victory seems like foolishness.  But without a crucified God, there is no forgiveness for any sins.  All sin remains, and we are left hopeless.  Everything we do, every suffering we endure, every life we touch is rendered meaningless.

This is not where God leaves us, though.  He sent Jesus to become sin for us, that we might have the righteousness of God.  God has done it.  He has made our lives meaningful through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  If you are a woman, you are God’s true daughter in Jesus Christ.  If you are a man, you are God’s true son in Jesus Christ.  Together, we are united by the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross who called us out of the darkness and into the light of this good news.

Now that’s wisdom!

Pastor John

whitewashed tombs

Religious people who don’t recognize their own sin make the best Pharisees.


Sermon from August 3


Observations on Jesus as church builder

Jesus stunk at building a megachurch ministry.

Just read Mark 6:1-5.

Think about how He intensified the Law in Matthew 5-7.

How about the parables?  These were spoken to keep people from seeing clearly.  Jesus had to explain them to his own disciples.

How about calling religious people a brood of vipers?  Or, whitewashed tombs, full of old bones.

Read John 6, especially from verse 51 – on.  At verse 66, it states, ‘As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.’  Even his own disciples, (not the 12), walked away because of his teachings.

So much for seeker-sensitivity :-(

The pendulum of faulty biblical interpretation

I have been guiding people through the book “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy.  In this book, He explains that there are two common errors when approaching Scripture.  The first is Literalistic (not Literal) interpretation.  The other is Allegorical interpretation.  One of the participants said, “It’s like a pendulum”.  She was exactly right.

People who come out of Literalism (like Dispensationalism) with a bad taste in their mouths swing over to the allegorical interpretation of Scripture.  Allegory is an approach whereby you set aside the historical background of the Scripture.  Literalism approaches the Scripture as if there is no further need for the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture.  The history is self-evident.  There is no need to interpret it Christocentrically.  Literalists view Revelation without the idea of symbolic language.  Instead, they talk about helicopters and Russia and modern Israel, completely forgetting about the context in which it was written.

Both of these approaches are man-centered.  Really, they are Adam-centered.  The Old Adam remains in control of the interpretation of Scripture, so the mind (and self) remain it’s own god.

Goldsworthy says the path of interpretation that Biblical theologians should  maintain is Type – Anti-type, wherein Christ is the fulfillment of both literal prophecy and ‘types and shadow’ of the Old Testament (i.e.s Jesus is the true David; Jesus is the true Moses).  Anything that would flatten Scripture to Christ-less Christianity or History-less Christianity is not Christian interpretation … At all.

Law and righteousness in a nutshell.


The law never made anyone righteous, and never will.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: