Let me touch on an aspect of a false view of the kingdom of God. I refer to those who confuse Christianity with a kind of morality only. There are so many people who think of Christianity as if it were but a collection of vetoes and prohibitions and restraints. That was the trouble there in Rome. You should not eat this, you should not eat that, and all those other observances. And there they were, experts about these particular things. “No,” says the apostle, “Christ did not come from heaven to earth for that reason; that’s not Christianity!” …
And we can interpret that at the present time in this way: It is to think that you make yourself a Christian by the way in which you live; that if you do not do certain things you are a Christian, but that if you do them, then you are not. So you do not do these things, and then, of course, you can criticize others; you can feel that you are better than they are, and so you look down upon them.
That was the trouble with the Pharisee we read about in Luke 18: “I thank God I am not like other men. I fast twice in the week; I give a tenth of my goods to the poor. How good I am! Not like this miserable publican, this sinner fellow!” But that is not the kingdom of God; that is the precise opposite. But how common this idea is! How many people think of Christianity today as something that is purely negative, something that always makes demands of you, that tells you that if you are going to be a Christian you have got to stop this, that, and the other. And it goes no further and never tells you what Christianity gives you. So Christianity is confused with morality.*
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
A Thought to Ponder:
Christianity is confused with observed morality. If we think we are better than other sinners because we are a Christian, then are we a Christian?
*Dr.D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones – The Kingdom of God