Pharisees were some of the most religious and most condemned people mentioned in the New Testament. Thanks to Jeff C, I know that pharisee means “set apart.” How did I make it through Bible college without learning that? To be set apart is a good thing, but not at the risk of spiritual well being of others. There were enough laws in the Old Testament to keep any Jew busy. The additional regulations stipulated by the religious crowd made being a “good Jew” almost unattainable.
I have sat in church all my life and heard the Jews railed on for various things. Allow me to interview you. I already know the answers, so I’ll answer for you. Do Christians ever lack faith? Yes. Do they ever struggled with the same sin over and over? Have they become so religious that the world feels intimidated by the rules they have in place? YES! Knowing that most Christians do not embrace change or radical thought, do you really think that most Christians would have accepted Jesus when He walked the earth? Yeah, I doubt it, too.
Yes, the Bible does say to “come out from among them and be separate,” but let’s face it, we’ve exceeded the words of the Bible in defining separate. How Pharisaical. Ever considered what Jesus had to say about Pharisees? Jesus calls them hypocrites 7 times in Matthew 23, not to mention calling them fools, vipers, and asking them how they expect to escape Hell. I guess He wasn’t too high on these guys. Their appearance meant little to Christ, because He didn’t want their outward appearance. He wanted their hearts.
The church is full of Pharisees. Don’t tell anyone, but I think I was one for a long time. I had my own personal code that I added to the Bible to gauge spirituality. I was just trying to set myselph apart, but to what cost? I watered down my effectiveness to reach people, because I made Christianity look like an impossible religion, when it has always been about a relationship with a Father Who LOVES His children.