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For the Pharisees, Prayer Was Nothing More than an Empty, Dead Work

Description

The Christian has gone from unbelief to belief. As a result, he or she isn't bound by law, but rests in the grace of God and lives resurrection life by grace through faith.

Hear

Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Romans 10:3-4).

Believe

The world system had its genesis at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All the elements became fully operational. Eve wanted to be like God – the lust of the flesh. She saw that the fruit of the tree was pleasing to the eye – the lust of the eyes. And it was desirable for gaining wisdom – the pride of life. Mankind has been feeding on that tree ever since. The system is built on unbelief. It is expressed through the deeds of darkness.

Some of these deeds can look good on the surface. For example, the Pharisees prayed in public. Prayer is good, and the Bible encourages us to pray. For them, however, prayer was nothing more than an empty, dead work. Their prayers were motivated by the wisdom they gained from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus warned against this type of praying. “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5).

These hypocrites were operating from a heart of unbelief. From that heart, they reinterpreted the law, the Mosaic covenant, to establish their own standard for righteousness. They took what was holy, righteous, and good and molded it to fit with the world system. Paul was one of those guys. He boasted of being faultless as to legalistic righteousness. But after meeting Jesus, he clearly saw that this wasn’t the righteousness of God. He describes the Israelites’ misguided efforts.

Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (Romans 10:3-4).

Here, Paul draws the line between the way of the world and the way of Christ. It is the difference between law and grace. Resurrection life is lived by grace through faith.

Live

You have gone from unbelief to belief. As a result, you are not bound by law, but can rest in the grace of God. The Christian life, resurrection life, is lived by grace through faith. You don’t have to work to obtain righteousness. Through your faith in Christ, you have been made righteous.

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