The Sin of the Religious Person (Isaiah 58-59)

Manipulating and controlling God is in essence the sin of the very religious person, including Christians.

It is unfortunate that Christians have historically applied the Bible to others--non-Christians and Christians of other expressions and denominations--rather than to themselves. They/we seem to naturally confess the sins of others, rather than our own sins. They/we naturally think that others are obviously worse than we are. They/we see how much others need to change, without clearly knowing how much they/we need to change. Thus, the "worst" sin in the Bible could very well be self-righteousness, even and especially when one is "right." When one thinks that they are right and others are wrong, WATCH OUT! The most unpleasant person is not necessarily the obvious sinner that everyone can see and know. Rather the most unpleasant person in Scripture is the self-righteous Pharisee who thinks and talks as through they are better than everyone else. In this regard, the self-righteous religious person are like the blind who are completely unable to see and know the true reality--especially of themselves. The self-righteous person is not only blind to themselves, but to God whom they think are blind like themselves.

Isaiah 58-59 addresses the sin of the religious person, the person of the church, the temple or the synagogue:
  1. Outwardly Religious (Isaiah 58)
    1. Outward show of being religious ("Christian") for others to see (1-5)
    2. False Sabbath keeping to show one's outward faithfulness to God (6-14). We might skip "guarding our own heart" but we do our best not to skip church or church gatherings.
  2. Inwardly Sinning (Isaiah 59)
    1. Lying naturally and comfortably (1-8). Religious people who lie often have no clue that they are lying, perhaps because they believe the lies to be true.
    2. Helpless to change (9-14)


The Sovereignty of God

When did I acknowledge the sovereignty of God? When I became a Christian in 1980.

What is the sovereignty of God? A pastor friend said it best: "There is a God and I'm NOT him." I might add to that: There is One in charge and in control, and it better not be me, or anyone else.

How did I come to acknowledge the sovereignty of God? Genesis 1:1; 2:16-27.

What did it mean to mean? Mt 6:33; Lk 9:23; 1 Cor 5:16.

How has the sovereignty of God shaped my life? All of life is a gift of grace. 1 Cor 15:10; Ac 20:24.

What stories (verses) in the Bible illustrate the sovereignty of God? Rom 8:28; Genesis 37-39.