Luke 16:13 – “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. (NIV)
In this short passage, Jesus gives us a profound truth about justification. What does it mean to be justified? To be justified means to be right. Due to the power of sin in our lives, left on our own we are not right. Most significantly, we are not right with God. Justification, therefore, is when we are made right with God. We know that Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, but his death alone does not make us right with God. In order for justification to take place, something must be changed in our hearts.
John Wesley had grown up in the Church of England in a very religious family. He studied at Oxford, and became a clergyman in the Church of England. He served as a missionary to the British Colony in Georgia. It wasn’t until after all of that, in 1738, while studying the Scriptures that he felt his heart ‘strangely warmed’, and that he knew that he was right with God. Until that time, Wesley had tried to justify himself through his religious activities instead of depending upon God. From that point on, Wesley’s life changed, and he would go on to lead the movement that is known as Methodism.
In the Scripture reading above, Jesus tells the religious leaders of his day that they were trying justify themselves, but that nothing had really changed within their hearts. They were doing many religious things, and observing many religious rituals, but they did so only in an effort to justify themselves in the eyes of others (verse 15). Paul tells us in Romans 10:10 that our hearts must be changed: “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified.” There are many religious rituals that we observe, but let us never forget that the mere observance of such rituals does nothing to make us right with God. We would be better served to spend time in prayer and study so that we, like John Wesley, might come to a place where our hearts are strangely warmed.
My prayer for you today is that your hearts have been changed, and that you believe and are justified.
Posted by Ramón Torres