July 27, 2021 - We turn to the fourth woe that Christ talks about in Matthew 23:23-24. In the previous verses, we read about woe number three, which was about the religious leaders of the time understanding of oath-taking. Jesus rebuked them and reminded them God is Lord over all and that making an oath is an oath under God no matter what. In other words, Christians are not to be people that cross their fingers behind their back when taking an oath. It is from that immediate context that we read verse the next woe.
Matthew 23:23 reads, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Perhaps you have heard of this term dead orthodoxy. The consensus seems to be that it means holding to correct theological doctrine but having no change of heart. In other words, having a wealth of knowledge about what Scriptures teaches and commands but having a heart that throws all that knowledge out the door. This could be regarding the change that comes with a regenerated heart, lack of a desire to see the church spread the Gospel, and similar situations. To use an illustration and adjust it, we might have heard the Gospel described as a cure to those dead in sin. Dead orthodoxy might be defined as knowing everything about the cure, who made it, how to maintain it, what temperature it needs to stay at, where to inject it, and many other things but never bothering to give the shot to people. Some might even find themselves comfortable not giving the shot out, keeping it to themselves, neglecting what the cure is meant to do.
While the Pharisees and scribes were focused on the more minor issues, they ignored the major issues. This is an issue that we see even today! Many churches have split apart over minor issues like personal preferences on worship styles when the major issue is what God wants the worship of him to look like. We can often be so wrapped up about such small things that we miss the bigger issues like justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Let us ask God to give us the ability to focus on him more and truly realize how a Christ-centered faith does not forget those three things. In the end, we Christians believe that the church does have a part to play in such things, the church being we people who believe that by the power of Christ, we are forgiven.
Wynter is an Elder at Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church. Find out more at MariposaChurch.org or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org (new email.) Visit Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church on Facebook.
Pastor’s Corner is a column from Pastor Wynter Sturtevant III of the Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church.
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