12/14/14: Pilgrim’s Progress (3) — Led Astray By Worldly Wiseman
In Sunday’s class we saw Christian take his first dangerous detour…. Persuaded by Mr. Worldly Wiseman that there was an easier way to remove the burden on his back, Christian went to visit Mr. Legality. But as he passed by the high hill (symbolizing the law), he became terrified that it would fall on his head and crush him to death. Fortunately, Evangelist found Christian though he had turned aside from the narrow path. At Evangelist’s rebuke, Christian cried out for mercy and was reassured that “all sins will be forgiven the children of men” (Mark 3:28). However, Evangelist sternly explained why he should hate Worldly Wiseman’s advice and then pointed him back to the narrow gate.
Worldly Wiseman symbolizes the world’s way of thinking about sin and salvation. Evangelist helps us see three reasons why the world’s perspective is so harmful:
- It turns us aside from “the Way.” “There’s not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world,” said Worldly Wiseman about the path Christian was on. ” But according to Jesus, this hard way is the only way: “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14).
- It makes the cross offensive to us. Worldly Wiseman urged Christian to avoid the sacrifices and suffering found on the way of the cross. But it’s through death that we experience true life: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).
- It places us on the path to death. Legalism (which Worldly Wiseman recommended as an alternative to the cross) is a lie — it promises we can earn God’s favor by dutifully keeping all his commands, but it actually makes the burden of our sin even heavier. As Scripture states so clearly, “No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20). Even stronger are Paul’s words to the Galatians: “For all why rely on works of the law are under a curse…” (Galatians 3:10).
Worldly Wiseman is still alive and well, promising us an easier way to deal with the burden of our sin. But in reality, he seeks to cheat us out of our salvation. May God help us see through the lie of legalism and keep both feet on the path that leads to life.
FOR DISCUSSION WITH PARENTS
- Which path do you think I am on – the easy path or the hard path (Matthew 7:13-14)?
- Do you see any signs that I am trusting in my good works (instead of Jesus) for salvation?