The more one pores over the holy Scriptures, the more one sees how apart from grace there is nothing in them to attract the flesh. Little there seems to be beyond Genesis 1 & 2 which seems like good news to the fallen human mind. All seems to be judgement and condemnation; no possibility of reaching perfection, earning righteousness, or achieving anything other than a sin stained self righteousness continually undercut throughout all the unfolding pages.
Contrary to the fallen human instinct to begrudgingly respect the external trappings of religion, the direst warnings of Christ Jesus were aimed at the nominally religious, at those privileged ones who should have known better. Paul’s epistle to the Romans provides us with a one chapter diagnosis of the world followed by a ten chapter treatise on the peculiar perils associated with outward, ceremonial religion.
In the opening of that epistle, words associated with human passivity and divine glory can be seen to emanate from every line. Received, called, beloved are all polar opposites of our pride filled sense of self which yearns to have achieved, mastered and controlled this business of life, summed up in the words of a celebrated worldly poem: ‘I am the captain of my soul’. Were it not for God’s gracious love shed abroad in our hearts (Rom 5:5) how we too would be worshippers of a false religion or worse, false worshippers of the true religion.