Saturday, January 19, 2013
“For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face” (2 Corinthians 11:20 KJV).
Beloved, take today’s Scripture to heart, lest religion take your heart so they can take from you!
Today’s Scripture summarizes religion:
- “If a man bring you into bondage.” Religion (<religare, ‘to bind’) shackles us, for we sinners can never perform enough to be perfect. The more rules we attempt to keep, the more we stumble and the more miserable we become.
- “If a man devour you.” Religion consumes you; it gains your trust, making you believe you are “good enough,” but it only disappoints you because you can never be perfect.
- “If a man take of you.” Religion extorts your time, treasure, and trust. Eventually, it will literally take away everything—your joy, your savings, your time, your liberty in Christ.
- “If a man exalt himself.” Religion tries to dominate your Christian life (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24). It demands that you keep rules, regulations, rituals, and rites. It threatens you, “Keep my ordinances, or God will not bless you.”
- “If a man smite you on the face.” Religion abuses you. It disfigures the “face” of your inner man. You forget your identity in Christ, and you return to the “weak and beggarly” system of Law-keeping (Galatians 4:9). You forget that God has accepted you forever in Christ (Ephesians 1:6), not because of what you have done or what you have not done, but because you are in Christ, and Jesus Christ’s performance and finished crosswork on Calvary makes you forever pleasing in God’s sight!
Unfortunately, like the Corinthians (today’s Scripture), most Christians allow religion to deceive them. They do not study the Bible for themselves, and they do not study it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). They confuse themselves with Israel, and they ignore God’s Word to them (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), thereby making themselves vulnerable to church leaders who steal Israel’s verses in order to steal their purses!
Dearly beloved, beware of the twice-guilty thieves, and avoid them.