Legalists are fond of measuring spiritual things by human means. 5 tidy steps and whamo! A Christian! Attend services on Sunday a.m., Sunday p.m. and Wed p.m. give a little, sing some, listen to the preacher some, listen to someone pray, eat a cracker, drink some juice and you are considered to be “faithful”.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day measured spirituality in much the same way didn’t they? They decided who was in and who was out by human observation. What they could ascertain about an individual by the 5 senses, (or by the “flesh”) was how they measured the relationship of a man with God.
Can we know all about a man by what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel? No, because man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. That doesn’t stop us from trying though does it? We observe the baptism of someone and then make the statement, “He was immersed for the forgiveness of his sins so that makes him my brother”. Oh does it? Were you able to see faith? Could you know if there was true repentance? Of course not. Never mind that other stuff, I want to believe my eyes and ears and what “they” have always said……
Jesus came to the outsiders, the down and out, the wicked, and He loved them, forgave them, and saved them. He saw their faith, knew their hearts. He taught like no other man ever had. Then He explained the law by saying “The law says….., But I say unto you……” and they were astonished at His statements. You mean to tell me that if I hate my brother I am guilty of murder? Good grief! Are you nuts? If I have a brief fantasy watching the women bathe at the river I have become an adulterer? You must be kidding!
No, God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Those are truths not observable by human means. We can’t place them some where on a “pattern” or a “plan” can we? Remember Nicodemus? Jesus laid some truth on him that caused him to exclaim “How can these things be?” I can just imagine how shocked he must have been when Jesus said to him:
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Unless I missed something, Jesus has just taught one of the leaders of the Jews a lesson in theology. “Nick my friend, you can’t observe who is in my kingdom and who is not by human observation any more than you can monitor and measure the wind. They have been set free. Free to run like the wind.”
Grace to you