The Pharisees were people who made up rules that were based on the Bible so that the rules themselves would keep people from sinning. People couldn’t be trusted to do the right thing and follow their conscience. We all know how Jesus felt about all those rules. He was violently opposed to them.
The Pharisees continually criticized people for things that they felt convinced were sins. Jesus called the people who kept the rules and looked down on the people who didn’t “brood of vipers,” “whitewashed walls,” and “tombs of dead men’s bones.” Jesus was venomous towards people who made up rules that were based on the Bible. He didn’t want those rules in place. He wanted us to yoke ourselves to the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit of God is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Well-meaning modern-day Pharisees, especially in the homeschool movement, have been putting more and more anvils on people’s backs, so much so that walking by the Spirit no longer is the main thing. Here are some of the rules:
- Get rid of your TV.
- Have the largest family possible, even when it means defying your husband.
- Don’t wear clothes that draw men’s attention. Wear frumpy clothes, even if your husband is not pleased with the way you dress.
- Don’t play any video games.
- Alcohol is sin, even if Jesus drank it.
- You must have family devotions, or the husband is not godly. There is no other way to lead spiritually besides this dictated, approved form.
Whoever does these things, boasts, making the people who don’t do these things feel like they are less spiritual, even if God has convicted them of the opposite. I’ve seen many people feeling deeply defeated after attending homeschool conferences, because so much is demanded of them, and the speakers have lost sight of the fact that Christ came to set us free, not to put us into bondage.
If God has actually convicted you of these things, you need to obey God. I’ve seen godly people on both sides of each of these issues. You are free to yield to God.
Modern-day Pharisees make up these rules because they correctly see idolatry in the general population in each of these areas. What they don’t understand is that when you yield freely to Christ, all the heart issues are taken care of. Seek first the kingdom of God, and all the rest will follow. We will be doing the right thing if we are led by the Spirit.
The sad tragedy is that all these rules bog people down and drive people away from God and to a form of self-righteousness where people list all the things they’ve given up and compare notes with other people. It gives people a false sense of superiority while pushing down people who so desperately want to follow Christ but give up because they feel continuously defeated.
“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3)
“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)Tweet