Tag Archives: iniquity

Straining at Gnats, Swallowing Camels

As Jesus spoke to His disciples and the multitude gathered in His last public discourse held in the Temple of Jerusalem before His crucifixion, He spoke of those who strain at gnats and swallow camels. He spoke of those who minor on the major, and major on the minor. He spoke of those who clean the outside of the cup while neglecting the filthiness inside the cup. He spoke of the scribes and Pharisees of the day, pronouncing woe upon them for their hypocrisy and iniquity.

In Matthew 23 Jesus’ words of guilt and punishment are recorded upon those in His presence who had laid heavy burdens upon the people but would not lift one finger to help them. He declared, “All their works they do for to be seen of men,” (vs4-5). In denouncing them, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (v13), Jesus proceeded to make clear the very nature of their sin.

Jesus rebuked them for promoting false doctrine contrary to the Scriptures (v13); devouring widows’ property and possessions by fraud (v14); making a pretence of long prayers (v14); compassing land and sea to make one false convert to their traditions (v15); giving more credence to an oath sworn on the gold of the Temple or a gift on the altar than by the God of Heaven Whose presence dwelt in the Temple (vs16-22); paying tithes with herbs of little value while omitting “the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (v23).

As Jesus refers to the scribes and Pharisees as “blind guides” throughout the chapter for leading His people astray, He gives word pictures to their actions. He describes how they wipe clean the outside of the plate and cup, observing all the washings and cleansings of their tradition, while neglecting what matters most on the inside (vs25-26). He then turns their attention to the cemetery and the “whited sepulchres” found there, which appear beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones. He tells them of how they build and decorate the tombs of the prophets and righteous who were slain by their forefathers, all the while proclaiming “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Knowing that it would be by their very hands they would call for His crucifixion, He tells them, “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers,” (vs27-32).

For such actions by the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus called them “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers,” for their pretending to be pious and devoted to God, but all the while being wicked on the inside with evil intentions. Jesus then asked them, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (v33). If the scribes and Pharisees continued on their wicked path, their future punishment in eternity would be inescapable.

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The Iniquity of Us All

In Isaiah 59 we are told exactly why man is separated from God:

“Your iniquities have separated between you and your God,                                                                    and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

BECAUSE:

  1. Your hands are defiled with blood
  2. Your fingers are defiled with iniquity
  3. Your lips have spoken lies
  4. Your tongue hath muttered perverseness
  5. None calls for justice
  6. None pleads for truth
  7. They trust in vanity
  8. They speak lies
  9. They conceive mischief
  10. They bring forth iniquity
  11. They hatch cockatrice’ eggs [venomous serpents]
  12. They weave the spider’s web [entangle others]
  13. Their works are works of iniquity
  14. Violence is in their hands
  15. Their feet run to evil
  16. They make haste to shed innocent blood
  17. Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity
  18. Wasting and destruction are in their paths
  19. The way of peace they know not
  20. There is no judgment in their goings
  21. They have made them crooked paths

Whosoever goeth therein shall not know Peace.”

RESULT:

  1. Judgment is far from us
  2. Neither does justice overtake us
  3. We wait for light, but behold obscurity
  4. We wait for brightness, but we walk in darkness
  5. We grope for the wall like the blind
  6. We stumble at noon day
  7. We are in desolate places as dead men
  8. We roar all like bears
  9. We mourn sore like doves
  10. We look for judgment, but there is none
  11. We look for salvation, but it is far off from us
  12. Our transgressions are multiplied before Thee
  13. Our sins testify against us
  14. Our transgressions and our iniquities, we know them:                                                               a. Transgressing against the LORD                                                                                                     b. Lying against the LORD                                                                                                                    c. Departing away from our God                                                                                                          d. Speaking oppression and revolt                                                                                                     e. Conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood

BECAUSE:  

Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off:

  1. Truth is fallen in the street
  2. Equity cannot enter
  3. Truth fails
  4. He that departs from evil makes himself a prey

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; And with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 

                            “Whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”