Studies in Romans Part VI: Rite Versus Righteousness -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.
BSac 130:518 (Apr 73) p. 151
Studies in Romans
Rite Versus Righteousness
[S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Dallas Theological Seminary.]
There is an old and archaic saying to the effect that, “A hypocrite is a man who stole the livery of heaven to serve the devil in.” Perhaps the sentiment of that ancient word casts some light upon the fact that the most terrible words that ever fell from our Lord’s mouth were words concerning hypocrisy. It would be difficult to find in the whole of language stronger, more pungent and pointed words than those of Matthew twenty-three. Listen to a few of them: “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 them that are entering to go in…. 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…. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith. These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, who strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel…. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisces, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore, ye are witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them who killed
BSac 130:518 (Apr 73) p. 152
the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt 23:13, 15, 23–24, 27–33).
To keep men in spiritual darkness, not permitting the glorious light of the gospel to penetrate the dark corners of their lives, neither living in it ourselves nor permitting others to do so (v. 13 ); to enroll members in our denomination or sect, arrogantly claiming that such membership is membership i...
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