Wednesday, February 14, 2007
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.
We know from reading about Saul, or Paul, that he was raised in a strict Jewish home. This meant that he would have learned the Scriptures from youth. His family sprang from the best soil, the tribe of Benjamin, where Israel’s first king, Saul, came from. No doubt young Saul was named after him.
Saul decided to become a Pharisee, which was a religious order. This meant that he would subject himself to strict discipline. His entire life essentially would be governed not only by Scripture, but by the various laws given by the rabbis. It was a radical commitment to make.
We also know that Saul was schooled by the famous Gamaliel, known as the teachers’ teacher and famed for his wisdom and understanding. Gamaliel personally took an interest in young Saul and taught him the things of God. The young man had a ravenous hunger for knowledge. He wanted to be as devout as possible.
So how was it that a man who was so religious ultimately became nothing more than a common murderer? It is because religion can be blinding. Religion can be a destructive force. Religious people conspired to put Jesus to death. And religious people put young Stephen to death as well.
When I say “religion,” I am not talking about faith in Christ; I am talking about religion. There is a big difference between manmade religion and true faith in Christ.
I think religion is probably keeping more people from Christ than everything else put together, because it gives them a false sense of security. But they will be in for a big shock when they find out that religion will not satisfy the requirements of a holy God.
For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org.
Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions,