Are we too religious? In the words of Michel de Montaigne, “I find no quality so easy to counterfeit as religious devotion.” That makes sense. We’ve all known people who seemed to be so religious that they were intolerable to be around. They were devoted, pious, obedient, sincere—and absolutely unbearable.
Jesus called , “holier-than-thou” religious leaders as “snakes in the grass” and “decorated graves” as they offered long, flowery prayers to show everyone how righteous they were. In fact, they were the worst possible fakes. They were “religious” but not godly. The essence of hypocrisy is to preach hard against the very sins you commit in secret. It’s to excuse in yourself the behavior you condemn in others.
As shocking as it may sound, there will be many church members in hell. Why? Because many people are locked into a false religious confidence. They trusted in religion instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the end, they were too religious for their own good.
Millions of people are today putting their hope of heaven in the fact that a priest sprinkled some water on their forehead when they were a few days old. Let us be clear on this point. All religious ritual is worthless unless something has already happened in the heart!
- Baptism cannot save you!
- The Lord’s Supper cannot save you!
- Church membership cannot save you!
- Tithing cannot save you!
- Praying twice a day cannot save you!
- Lighting candles cannot save you!
- The sacraments cannot save you!
- Religious ritual cannot save you!
“Men believe what they behold.” They don’t believe what we say; they only believe what they see. We are the Only Bible our Friends Ever Read. What do our friends discover when they read our life? Does our life point people to the Savior? Or does our life cause people to blaspheme His holy name?
The familiar words of Edgar Guest
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one would walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
The best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done.
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do.
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear.
For right living speaks a language which to every one is dear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.