Another woe Christ denounces upon them because they paid high regard to ceremonial forms, while omitting the weighty spiritual matters of the law.  They were very precise to pay their tithes of mint and anise and cumin, because these outward offerings gave them a veneer of religiosity which buttressed their reputations as men of God.  But while paying due regard to these ceremonial forms, they left off the true intent of the law, which is to teach men to exercise judgment, mercy, and faith in the living God.  These things did not interest those hypocrites, because they could not be seen externally, and were of no use in garnering the praise of men.  It was well and good for them to perform the ceremonial rituals which God had enjoined.  But those offerings were a stench to Him when they were not combined with a heart dedicated to holiness.  As David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.”  The great complaint of the prophets against Israel was always that they would keep up the ceremonies of temple worship, but their worship was unacceptable because they were murderers, thieves, and idolaters in practice.  So it was with the scribes and Pharisees.  And thus those old kingdoms were destroyed, as will be every church and every individual who practices such hateful hypocrisy in any generation.

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