I encounter many people that call themselves Christians; yet they fail to understand why they call themselves or think that they are Christians. Many are like the Pharisee.
"To some who trusted in their own righteousness and viewed others with
contempt, He also told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to
pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee
stood by himself and prayed, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the
other men—swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax
collector. I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I receive.’
But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up
his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said, ‘God, have
mercy on me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee,
went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” ~ Luke 18: 9-14.
In that parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee - the one who is in the dark and not in the light of Christ, we find the greatest misunderstanding of Christianity. If you point this out to Christians today as Christ did in his time on earth, many will think and or say you are against the law just as they did then. Why? Because, those that are like the Pharisee consider the practice of the law is what saves you. If you tell them that the "trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The
trouble is with them/me [Paul] for I am./we are all too human, a slave to sin. I/we
don't really understand my/ourself, for I/we want to do what is right, but I/we
don't do it. Instead, I/we do what I/we hate. But, if I/we know that what I am/we are doing is wrong, this shows that I/we agree that the law is good. So I am/you/we are
not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me/us that does it [And, this is what most people cannot accept, that sin is living in them].
know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
I/we want to do what is right, but I/we can't. I/we want to do what is good, but
I/we don't. I/we don't want to do what is wrong, but I/we do it anyway. But if I/we
do what I/we don't want to do, I am / we are not really the one doing wrong; it is
sin living in me that does it. I/we have discovered this principle of life,
that when I/we want to do what is right I/we inevitably do what is wrong. I/we
love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me/us
that is at war with my/our mind...Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will
free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? ~ Jesus
Christ! ~ Romans 7:14-24.