After a long study on the Pharisees, it’s very easy to start pointing accusing fingers and shaking our heads in disgust at the mere mention of the word Pharisee, but it’s important to note that when we point to a person, three fingers come back pointing at us. A believer is not an allrounder until he has unquestionable character. We use the Pharisees for examples of what a Christian should not look like but what is much more important is that we learn from their experiences.
Inasmuch as the Pharisees were full of evil, a few of them do stand out. Nicodemus was also a Pharisee; he was also accustomed to their “crooked” way of life but he let Jesus’ words minister to him and he came to look for Jesus (John 3:1-10). He was ready to put away his former sinful way of living which was hidden under a façade of righteousness. He wanted to have true righteousness and Jesus did not turn him back.
The same way, God will not turn back those who truly seek Him. He will transform them if they ask.
Paul of Tarsus is even a more popular Pharisee. Just before he met Jesus, he was on his way to persecute more Christians but this time around, Jesus held him back. God worked on his life and transformed him into Paul the Apostle we all know today. (Acts 9:1-31)
Therefore, it does not matter how far gone you think you are. It does not matter how long you’ve been living a life of hypocrisy or how spiteful you have been over the years. God redeems people. Paul was very spiteful of Christians back then and was directly related to the deaths of many of them, Stephen included (Acts 8:1-3). But, look how God changed his life (Acts 23:1). Do not stay in the place of condemnation, earnestly seek the Lord. God is willing to welcome you home with a fine robe and a ring on your finger (Luke 15:11-22).
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, a group that plotted to have Jesus killed. At first, he visited Jesus at night probably because he felt ashamed or scared of what people would say but later on, he openly portrayed his devotion to Jesus (John 7:50-51; 19:38-42). Jesus did not turn Nicodemus away because he was part of the Sanhedrin, in fact, before Nicodemus could even finish talking Jesus could sense his desire for the Truth and He immediately told Him the criteria for salvation (John 3:1-21). Do not let the devil tell you “you’re too far gone to be forgiven”. Do not let him convince you that “you are worse than a Pharisee”. In fact, don’t even let him sell the idea of “that’s how I’ve been since I was born” to you. Jesus offers you a new nature that would change your character completely (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24; Galatians 5:22-23).
Sometimes, it feels satisfying to get the praise of people or to wish evil on someone who wishes you the same (people-pleasing and maliciousness). Other times, when we don’t want people to mistreat us, we prefer to show off what we’ve got or prove to them how we are much better than them (pride and superiority complex). As believers we sometimes find it hard to believe that our salvation is a finished work (God’s righteousness not own-righteousness) and it’s easier to preach than practice (hypocrisy). But what would make us be true allrounders who are men and women of unquestionable character is letting the Holy Spirit help us. He readily produces godly characters in us (Galatians 5:22-23). So, understanding this and submitting to His help would enable us live right.
However, some set of people may be unable to access this help we have in the Holy Spirit simply because He doesn’t live in them yet. Nevertheless, today presents you an opportunity to receive that privilege, to join the family of Christ, to come and see that the Lord is good (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 1:12-13; Psalm 34:8). Today, salvation meets you! If you would like to make Jesus the Lord of your life today and thereby receive divine help from the Holy Spirit to begin to live right, please say this prayer:
“Dear God I come before you today in surrender. I come to you believing that you love me so much hence, you sent your Son to die for my sins and you resurrected Him to give me authority. I acknowledge that you’re truly my Lord and Savior. Today, I receive the new life you have made available for me in Christ Jesus and I receive the grace to keep walking in and with you in Jesus’ name. Amen.” (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:6; Luke 10:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17)