Read Psalm 50 and Matthew 23:1-12
Talk is cheap.” “Actions speak louder than words.” “Do as I say, not as I do.” “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” You’ve no doubt heard or said some version of these phrases and we all understand their meaning. Though they may not be explicitly Scripture-based, these types of phrases are certainly in line with the truths of Scripture. God’s Word is very clear and gives us countless instructions about how God is concerned with the state of our hearts above our outward appearances. Psalm 50 and Matthew 23:1-12 are examples of this teaching.
In Psalm 50 verse 16, God condemns those He deems wicked for reciting His statues and taking His covenant while they forgot God and hated His discipline. In Matthew 23:3, Jesus tells the crowds and His disciples that the scribes and Pharisees, who were meant to lead God’s people by righteous example, were preaching but not practicing what they preached. Both sections of Scripture show us that though these people claimed to follow God with their mouths, they rejected God in their hearts. On the outside, they looked like rule followers and Bible teachers. But on the inside, they were full of wickedness and sin.
Jesus confronts this hypocrisy. God will humble those who make much of themselves. However, those who make much of others will be exalted by God. Psalm 50 puts it like this, “To one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God.” So what is the right way? This is the acceptable sacrifice of thanksgiving. This sacrifice is rooted in the overflow of gratitude for the salvation that God has already given, not a sacrifice that seeks to earn favor in the eyes of God or in the eyes of men.