May 31, 2021 - This first woe that Christ throws at the scribes and Pharisees is found in Matthew 23:13. Christ was focusing on these religious leaders, but they are not the only ones who can learn from these woes. Verse 13 reads, "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in."
In the classical and reformed Christian perspective. There are only two basic ways to describe one's theology. Man-Centered or Christ-Centered. To have a man-centered theology leads us to primarily focus on what works we need to do to earn entry into the kingdom of heaven. Our standing with the almighty God is, according to this view, based on our merits. This is the type of theology that was found in the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. They would also observe religious practices for the sake of being for their piety. So we see an unhealthy blend of merit and piety. A terrible mixture that we see even today!
It would be one terrible thing if this were just one person, but what makes it worse is that these religious leaders to whom Jesus was talking to had people listening and following them. They would hear man-centered theology. Time and time again, hearing the swinging of the door to the kingdom of heaven. The religious leaders kept shutting the door in people's faces, not realizing that they are on the same side as the people.
The Christ-centered theology recognizes that it is not our merit but Christ alone that opens that door for the people of God. Let us not be known for being people of shut doors but of people that hail the power of Jesus' name.
Pastor’s Corner is a column from Pastor Wynter Sturtevant III of the Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church.
The Church has moved locations, services are now held at the Bootjack Stompers Hall (located at 4662 Morman Bar Crossing) across from the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.
Time of service is at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday.
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