“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Matthew 23:12-15
The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites because they claimed to know God but were far away from Him. They performed many religious acts and prayed long prayers while pretending to be something they were not – close to God. They earnestly sought new converts (proselytes) to teach these same religious acts. Jesus said these hypocrites would receive “greater damnation”. Religious wickedness is the greatest wickedness of all.
There are many who stand at the gate directing God’s children to another gate for spiritual growth/sanctification. They shut up the Kingdom of Heaven to God’s children for their deliverance and send them to another bridegroom. This other bridegroom offers many religious acts to overcome sin but all with the same result – a proselyte that is twofold more the child of hell. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17. Look at what some of the churches are doing today and see yesterday’s proselytes, many are indeed two fold.
There is only one way to have dominion over our sin nature and that is through faith in Jesus. I know as a Believer we have faith in Jesus for our Salvation but where is our faith for our deliverance from that bondage, our victory in this life? Our faith should be in the same place as it is for our Salvation – Jesus Christ and His finished work. Sadly, however, we (the church) are being directed to another bridegroom. Jesus’ death on Calvary’s Cross not only paid our sin debt but as well broke the dominion of sin in a Believer’s life. That dominion is only afforded the Believer when our faith is in the One Who broke the dominion…Jesus Christ. When our faith is in our self efforts, self will or schemes of man, that dominion is not broken. The Holy Spirit does not reign in our heart to isolate our sin nature when our faith is not in the One Who paid the price, Jesus Christ. He, the Holy Spirit, is only commissioned to dethrone our sin nature when our faith is in Jesus. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2.
The Holy Spirit will prick our hearts when we head toward the gate of the other bridegroom and the Pharisees and scribes will tell you “condemnation is of the devil”. Our faith is shifted to the other bridegroom and we are blinded. I dare say, if you don’t think you could be blinded, there is a high possibility you are blinded…I was. Our spiritual adultery, just as all sin, is fun for a season but the yoke gets heavy. Just as a frog in boiling water, we don’t realize the weight of the yoke.
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
Did you blindly follow man to the other bridegroom? Is your yoke heavy? Do you feel as though the Kingdom of Heaven is shut up to you? Jesus remains at the door knocking. Don’t allow religious pride to keep you out of the Kingdom of Heaven. His yoke is easy, seek Him, Jesus Christ, for your deliverance – not schemes of man. – Donna Clark Warren.