-Motivational Blog Posts To Encourage You To Stay On The Mainstream Path Of Faith-
If you haven't read the post before this, I'd recommend reading it. It will give you understanding of where I am coming from and why I am writing this. Are You A Pharisee?
This blog post is going to focus on what the Pharisees believed. To know if we live like the Pharisees, we must know what they believed. Makes sense right? But even before going there, I want to give you a little background of who the Pharisees were, and why it is so important to know what they believe. Let's get right into it!
Who were the Pharisees?
"The Pharisees were a scholarly class dedicated to the teaching of both the written and oral Law and stressing the internal side of Judaism. Pharisees would have been determined to avoid in their resolution to separate themselves from any type of impurity proscribed by the levitical law — or, more specifically, their strict interpretation of it." (found here) The time and origin of the group is debated as they are only mentioned in the New Testament, but I would suggest that the Pharisees rose as a group during the 400 silent years.
Josephus, born in 37 A.D., was a historian that came from Jerusalem. Many would know the name from their apologetic study; if you're not familiar with him that's okay too. Just know that he is a pretty well-known trustworthy source for early A.D. history.
Anyways, he speaks of the Pharisees. You can look up some of the stuff he says with a quick Google search, but I want to share a few that I found interesting online.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees lived in harmony with others.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees were seen as the most accurate interpreters of the law.
Josephus stated that the Pharisees believed and taught oral laws, laws which were passed down by word of mouth through generations, but were not recorded in the law of Moses.
Josephus also makes it appear that during the time of Herod, the Pharisees were influential on the people, but they were also careful with their speech and actions because they were under control of the king. The Pharisees were probably loyal to the king because they wanted to keep the peace between the Jews and the Romans, since the Romans basically had full control over them at the time.
(found these statements from here)
This is all very interesting to take into account when thinking about the Pharisees. They kept the peace, were acknowledged and respected, and were loyal to the king. They sound like some pretty good guys so far, right?
Let me explain:
From the studying of the background of the Pharisees, they sounded pretty sincere. It seems to me that they truly wanted not only others to see them as holy men but God also to see them as holy men. They wanted to be the example for the Jews. For the Jews to regard them as respectable men of the day was not a mistake; they truly did keep the laws of Moses and the Jews would have held high regard to this. This all leads up to one statement: it was not what they were doing essentially that was wrong; it was what they believed. Their belief was very misguided, making them blind to the Messiah.
The Pharisees were seen like a brotherhood (sounds like a cult); they devoted their whole life to studying the law.
Let me ask you a question: What's the point of knowing ANYTHING if you won't apply it? Think of it this way: Why go to college to become a surgeon, study hard, pass all your tests with perfect scores, and then never get a job at a hospital to put it into practice? What's the point. It's as if the Pharisees studied, showed everyone that they studied and how much they knew, but never moved on. They knew the law, but never looked to the application of the law. They never saw that law was about much more than just doing and looking righteous.
If I went to college and got the degree as a surgeon, you would think the next step is to start operating. What if instead I just kept studying, so I could be the wisest and most talented surgeon there is. I wore my scrubs, carried around my surgical tools, and showed everyone that I had a degree. They would probably look at me and say, "Wow, this guy is successful." Does it mean anything if I never do an operation? What was the point?
The Pharisees thought the point was to look and be as righteous as can be. That was the goal. They wanted to impress man and God with knowledge. They were misguided. It was useless without being given the job; it was useless without the application of God in their life.
What did the Pharisees believe?
The Pharisees were very legalistic Jews. They were more dependent on moral law then faith in God.
Do you see the problem there? They found it more important to do what looked good to God than believing in God. They basically took salvation on themselves. "If I just do this, this, and this, God won't be able to deny seeing me as a holy and righteous man." This makes salvation fully dependent on the work of man instead of the work of God.
So on the outside, the Pharisees looked great; in fact, they were highly regarded! But Jesus wasn't fooled; he knew where their hearts were.
But why did the Pharisees believe this way? Because they believed in salvation! They believed that the righteous would be rewarded with eternal life; the unrighteous were damned to death. This is made clear in Acts 23:8 "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all."
They believed in the resurrection of life, and they believed that the righteous would be the ones receiving it. This is true! The Bible makes it clear that the righteous inherit salvation. You must have righteousness, but the difference is what the Pharisees believed.
Pharisees saw it this way: "We must be righteous. Righteousness is being right or justifiable; it is to be considered good. So I just have to be good, and God will see that I am righteous."
Read Romans 3-4 for me PLEASE! If you have never read Romans 3-4 you need to crack open a Bible or Google it right now. Paul perfectly explains how this works and the misunderstanding of the Jews in Rome. He even uses an Old Testament example (Abraham) for them to see where it states that the righteousness we need is not our own. Yes, we need to be righteous in the site of God, but we are all unrighteous from birth. So how are we suppose to become righteous? By faith! God credits Christ's righteousness to the one whom has faith in God instead of their own works.
This is why Jesus could say, "Do as they say and not as they do" (Matthew 23:3). They Pharisees taught the law; they were teachers of God, but they did not live in accordance of it!
Pharisitical Christians Today!
We do this all the time! We teach one way, and we do the other! Are you guilty of being a Pharisee? I sure am! I love to study the Bible and know doctrine and deep theology, but when I don't live it out, I am a Pharisee. Christians are the biggest hypocrites! It's true, and it hurts to say it because I know this is true of me too.
We say we believe this, and yet we fall under the Pharisitical mindset of just studying and doing, studying and doing, looking good on the outside, no intimate intention on the inside. It's like saying, "Look, I love God. I read the Bible. I pray every day. I go to church. I even invite people!" and not saying or doing any of it with the motive of glorifying God. What's the point of doing anything if you're not going to do it for the right reasons?
If salvation is of God ALONE, and not of ourselves, we must live in accordance of that truth. If you call yourself a Christian, stop living for yourself! Your belief is crooked; Don't be a fool like the Pharisees were. They hated Christ because He challenged what they believed. They hated Christ because he took the focus of keeping the law and looking good, and put it on God! Does Jesus need to do that for you too?
I want to end by challenging you to take a good look at yourself. Ask yourself why you do what you do? What do your actions say you believe? What is your heart motive? Who are you living for? Are you living with the intentions of looking good so your own righteousness can buy you eternal life? It's not going to work! You need to live in accordance to scripture. Let God's righteousness be credited to you by faith in Him and the work of Christ. Only then will your works and life lived out truly reflect where your heart is.
Jesus words not mine:
(Matthew 23:27-28 NIV) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
Is that you? What are you going to do about it?
Hi, I am Michael Jaymes. I am 20 years old, and decided to start writing in the winter of 2017. I have always loved writing, and I get to pour out that passion in my blog. I want to be a motivation, an encouragement, and edify my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that come to MainstreamBlog. I have made my life motto, "I just want to be a blessing." This is where I live that out!