Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
When Jesus said, “and not to leave the other undone,” it is clear that He is not arguing against doing what is right. God’s Word stresses holiness in our actions. The Pharisees’ error that caused Jesus’ rebuke was that they believed their actions could produce a right relationship with God. But a proper relationship with God can only come by humbling ourselves and putting faith in a Savior, who is Jesus. God cleanses our hearts by grace through faith… Ephesians 2:8, and then we have our fruit unto holiness … Romans 6:22. Holiness is a fruit, not a root, of salvation.
In a similar instance found in Matthew 23:26, Jesus told the Pharisees, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” True Christianity comes from the inside out. A good heart will change a man’s actions, but a man’s actions cannot change his heart.
One of religion’s favorite doctrines is that if you will just act right, you will be right. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must be born again. And if you are born again, then holiness is a by-product and not the way to a relationship with God.
This is the heart of the Gospel. Every major religion of the world has a moral standard it enforces, but only Christianity offers salvation through a Savior. Presenting holiness in any way other than as a result of salvation is denying Jesus as our Savior and places the burden of salvation on us. Improper emphasis on achieving holiness or salvation through one’s own actions can damn that person. We must trust Jesus completely.