Evening Reading for October 17

John 18:28-32
Suggested further reading: Matthew 23:23-28

We should notice the false conscientiousness of our Lord's wicked enemies. We are told that the Jews who brought Christ before Pilate would not go into `the judgement hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover'. That was scrupulosity indeed! These hardened men were actually engaged in doing the wickedest act that mortal man ever did. They wanted to kill their own Messiah. And yet at this very time they talked of being `defiled' and were very particular about the Passover!

The conscience of unconverted men is a very curious part of their moral nature. While in some cases it becomes hardened, seared and dead, until it feels nothing, in others it becomes morbidly scrupulous about the lesser matters of religion.

Let us pray that our consciences may always be enlightened by the Holy Ghost and that we may be kept from a one-sided and deformed Christianity. A religion that makes a man neglect the weightier matters of daily holiness and separation from the world and concentrate his whole attention on forms, sacraments, ceremonies and public services is, to say the least, very suspicious. It may be accompanied by immense zeal and show of earnestness, but it is not sound in the sight of God. The Pharisees paid tithe of mint, anise and cummin, and compassed sea and land to make proselytes, while they neglected `judgement, mercy and faith' (Matt. 23:23). The very Jews who thirsted for Christ's blood were the Jews who feared the defilement of a Roman judgement hall and made much ado about keeping the Passover! Let their conduct be a beacon to Christians as long as the world stands. That religion is worth little which does not make us say, `I esteem all thy commandments concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way' (Ps. 119:128). That Christianity is worthless which makes us compound for the neglect of heart religion and practical holiness by an extravagant zeal for man-made ceremonies or outward forms.

For meditation: Christianity is more than keeping a set of minor rules.

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ