This morning, reading in Matthew, I find interesting the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducces, their self- righteousness and Christ’s teachings and His comparison to leaven bread.
Because of their own self- righteousness, lack of reading, understanding, believing and obeying God’s Word, some have professed and gone astray in their belief by following the doctrine of legalism and have become skeptics in Christ and His teachings. As stated in Matthew 16:11-12, Jesus speaks of their doctrines, their attitudes and perspectives towards the teachings of Christ as the Messiah.
Here in Matthew Jesus used the word leaven (yeast) ( or as Jesus was referring to – sin) that had infiltrated in the self-rightheous Pharisees and Sadducces teachings and their lifestyle. Just as a little leaven in bread can cause the whole loaf to rise so is the comparision of a little leaven (sin) in the Pharisees or Sadducces to spoil a person. This leaven /yeast in bread instigates a decay process and thus symbolizes false doctrine.
Jesus was teaching a new way to be made right with God. In reality He was saying out with the old and in with the new. This new (covenant) was to be by faith in Christ alone and not man made laws and ideas. The religious teachers of that day (Pharisees and Sadducces) were adding (you might say leaven/yeast to there teachings) bringing about a decaying process into their lives and the lives of their hearers. These religious leaders were full of pride and did not want anyone messing with (their) kingdom.
Now comes a man teaching of a new way into the Kingdom of God, through Jesus Christ, alone. This would take down that of the old teachings of the very lives of these Religious leaders and bring in a new way of living, interrupting their own comfortable lives and way of doing things.
The Gospel, or Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, was now to be the way of life. Through Christ, His shed blood and redeeming power through His blood and His resurrection, brought about a new teaching, a new way of living; yes a new life to those and whom believed.
NOW, sin can be washed away and man forgiven for his trespasses, forever to be with God, eternal salvation. The very teachings of Christ through this new covenant would mean a change of heart; mind, body and soul. With a repentant heart and forgiveneous of sin mankind can now live a life with God. Christ said, “I came not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law”.
This was hard for religious leaders of that day to accept. A new teaching, a new leader and a new way of life.
In like manner, are we willing to give up the old (life) and accept the (new) life in Christ Jesus.
To the Pharisees and Sadducces it meant out with the old and in with the new. Because of their own pride of life they could not and would not accept Christ as the coming Messiah and receive His teachings.
Again let me say, in the scripures above, Jesus was warning the disciples of those who were teaching legalism, (what we eat, drink and wear or the outer appearance of man, the do’s and dont’s of living by the law) and those of being skeptical in the truth of God’s Word. Christ taught about the inner man or soul of a person for it is what will be judged and determines our future, eternal life with God our Father or eternal damnation with satan.
Salvation is all about the inner man or soul of man and a right relationship with our Father and Creator,God. When the inner man is made right the outer man will follow in obedience. Yes, God has made a way for all to receive this right relatonship with Him and it only comes through faith in His Redemption Plan; through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ and His resurrection power.
So is today, with the teachings of legalism, that teaches following the law over the teachings of faith in Christ; which is faith in and through the regeneration of the heart and soul of a person, from a persons belief in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection; by faith and faith alone. We now can become a new creature in Christ Jesus, by believing in the Gospel of this new covenant of Christ in us.
In other words, Christ in us the hope of glory. Faith in Christ and His finished work, that of forgiveness of sin through the shedding of His blood and a future of eternal life with our Father, God. Yes, a new life in Him has begun. As a born- again believer, we are made new in Christ Jesus. We have become spiritually, a new creature, through regeneration; for old things are past away all things have become new, this is the truth of the Gospel.
Legalism (Pharisees) says that you live the “Christian life” by the law or by works and the skeptics (Sadducees), are looking for “signs and wonders” instead of living life by the doctrine of faith and faith alone in Christ Jesus. Jesus said, ” it is better (to believe, trust or have faith) than to see”. Truly ” faith is” faith in Christ Jesus and His “finished work”.
Obedience will follow the true believer whom has placed their Faith in Christ and God’s Word. As Jesus has stated, the true Christian will be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer only. To follow Christ and the Word is to obey Christ and the Word, in so doing we will fulfill the law, applying and a doer of the Word.
In conclusion, “if” Christ is in us, we will be as Him, Christ working through us in the power and might of the Holy Spirit. A vessel of honor, power and glory, that the Father may be glorified in His Son. This is truly what “Christianity” is all about…doing our Fathers business!
May the love, grace and mercy of Christ be with you this day,
Love in Christ Jesus, Paul Lundmark