Some religious people are in big trouble.
That seems to the message of today’s passage, especially verses 17-24. All too often, there is a big difference between the way we think of ourselves and the way we really are. We might think of ourselves as “Christian” when we are anything but. We might say we believe the Bible, but our lives proclaim otherwise. We might believe that our way of believing is the necessary corrective for everyone else, except that it hasn’t really corrected our own lives to begin with. No matter what we think or say or proclaim, when it comes right down to it, lots of religious people aren’t much different than anybody else.
I like how The Message translates this passage. Here is one section: I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God's revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you?
For all our talk of Jesus, in what specific ways is he leading us? What can you and I point to in our life today that we did just because it is what Jesus asks us to do, that we would not have done except for our faithfulness to him, that we would not even have been able to do except for his grace to us?
The point of this passage is that none of us gets life right, even religious folks. We all need God’s grace. We all need forgiveness. We all need Jesus.
But, knowing this, for those who have received God’s grace…those who have been forgiven…those who have asked Jesus to be our Lord and Savior… if there is one thing the New Testament makes abundantly clear in passages just like this one, it is that our lives better show it.