Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Matthew 23:15
The dictionary defines proselyte as “a new convert to a doctrine or religion.” Jesus was rebuking the religious leaders of his own people and saying that the ones they were converting, they were making them even two-fold more a child of hell, than themselves. It was in the middle of him calling them hypocrites. He was telling these ones, that thought themselves to be the great spiritual leaders of God, that they were children of hell, and that their converts were twice more so. That is pretty strong judgement for a world that is always bantering the “dont judge me” banner.
I have wondered for a long time about this “two-fold more the child of hell.” A closer look at these scriptures will render to every man a good warning to heed.
In Matthew 23, Jesus tells us why these ones are hypocrits. Verse 5-“But all their works they do for to be seen of men:” It was not just some of thier works, but ALL of their works. They were not doing what they do for God at all, but rather to be lifted up in the eyes of men:
- they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
- they love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
- they love the greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
- they devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer:
- they are blind guides,
- they ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:
- they strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
- they make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
- they are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
- they outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
So why would the proseleyte be two-fold more wicked than these? Its because the proselytes are bowing down to these religious leaders and their systems. The proseleyte is not being converted to worship God, but rather to worship these men of pretense and hypocrisy.
Verse 13 says:
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
It is so important to know that we are proselyting to Christ alone- not to a religious system, or to a man, or even to ourselves. The Lord Jesus is Christ is alive- just as much as you and I. When we bow to him, and worship him, we are bowing to a very person that is the best friend one could ever have, that is the only begotten Son of God, and that was sinless and paid the penalty for our sins that we might be set free. Christ wants a very intimate and close relationship with us, and when we have that with him, we have that with the Father, for they are one in the same. He will talk to us and when he does, we prove our faithfulness to him, by our obedience to what he shows us. It is very personal, and each one of us is given specific instructions from God:
He told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and take up his cross and follow him. But he told the man from the tombs to go home and tell what God had done for him. He instructed Peter to feed his sheep, but the disciple John was to tarry till he comes.
Religious organizations will not get you to heaven. Following great religious leaders, dead or alive, will not get you to heaven. Rather, if you are not careful, they will proselyte you into a child of hell. Looking to the Lord Jesus Christ, seeking him with all your heart, and obeying his voice alone, is the only way to heaven. He is the straight gate; He is the narrow way. Worship Jesus!