The title of this post comes from a quote by John Sailhamer concerning Isaiah 58. I found the quote in the very good post by Mark from “unlikely christians” called “Talk is Cheap.” This is the full quote from Sailhamer:
The kind of repentance God required of his people is a contrite heart and a life of good works. There was little value in fasting if oneâ€™s life did not reflect compassion and obedience to the will of God.
Then, Mark replied with this:
What good is singing a song (hymn? chorus? psalm?), attending church, praying, fasting, or (even) reading my Bible if my actions and attitudes do not legitimate these practices. Thank God for grace to try again, for a holy dissatisfaction regarding my unholy life, and disdain at my hypocrisy.
I can remember recognizing my own hypocrisy. I remember clearly recognizing that I could sing a great song, attend church meetings regularly, pray for hours, fast, and read my Bible consistently… but my life was not filled with good works. Why? Because I had been taught (and I had bought into the teaching) that these things were the good works that God wants. These things are good, but they are only the beginning of living a life demonstrating the love of God. (By the way, I’m not saying that I’ve arrived. God continues to show me my own hypocrisy.)