There are versions of Christianity and then there is Christianity. Religious people mistake the former for the latter. They are certain that their construct of Christianity is the right one. They have discovered the blueprint, have been shown the “promised land,” and will accept nothing less than being in that “place” of milk and honey.
There is always a “place” where a religious man wants to be. He believes this “place” is defined and delineated by God. It is the only acceptable “place” for any true follower of God to live in. It is a “place” that a religious man believes he is pursuing hard after. Anything that would stand in the way of him entering and living in this “place” must be fought against. To see other people accepting another and lower place to him is unacceptable. Firstly, they must be called out for their failure to enter the “place.” If they had not realized that their heart was not perfect toward God, they can be forgiven and helped into the “place” they should be. But if they are rebellious and not willing to enter the “place,” God’s wrath is against them, even as His wrath was against the Israelites who would not enter God’s rest.
There is always a “place” where a religious man wants to be. He believes this “place” is defined and delineated by God.
Luther saw the place that was being held out to him by those of his day. What was the “place” held out by the medieval religionists of Luther’s day? A state of grace in which one did all things out of perfect love for God. In this place, there could be no ulterior motive in any of our works. A work was only acceptable to God when it was a work of grace, and such works needed an impartation of the love of God. Luther became despondent over never being certain that he had gotten to this “place” that God wanted him to live in. His relief was found when he stopped trying to get to a “place” delineated by man as the acceptable place and when he rested in the one and only acceptable place called Jesus.
Each school of the Pharisees believed that their head had arrived at the correct “place” that people should be in. The question for each rabbi was, “What is your version of the law? What place would I have to be in, doing what things, in order to be right with God and inherit eternal life?” These were zealous men, but zealous along their own lines; zealous when it came to their own set of rules. In the meantime, there were whole other areas of truth and righteousness that they were oblivious to and in violation of. Such is the inevitable state of those who exalt a “place.” They are so set on the “place” that they have become people of the letter rather than those of the Spirit. They become proud, self-righteous and judgmental of those who are not pursuing the “place” they deem all important, yet they are blind to the places where they are not pleasing God.
There will always be religious men. How can you recognize them? They will be more zealous for a “place” they have “seen in God” than the person of Jesus Christ. They will school you in their version of Christianity instead of pointing you to the Person who will bring you into every place that is indeed pleasing in the sight of God.