5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
When you are religious you think that your behaviour is all that counts before God. If you behave well, God loves you, if you misbehave God hates you. As we said about the last verse religious people are judgmental and mean.
Also discussing the last verse we established that people are religious because they hate the goodness of God. In this verse we find out that when people hate the goodness of God and become religious that they develop a hard and impenitent heart.
This is a disaster place to be: a drunkard, a thug and a prostitute all know they are sinners and when they hear the grace of God in the gospel they can repent and change. Someone with an impenitent heart cannot even know they have sinned: religion’s worst problem is that it is totally deceptive. It makes you think you are heaven bound when you are hell bound. It makes you think you are kind when you are horrendous. It makes you think you are pleasing God when you are storing up wrath for yourself.
Let’s take this verse to pieces and examine what it means:
1. Religious people have a hard heart.
This word means harsh or intolerable. It means you cannot change, you are unyielding, you will be unforgiving and cruel. Whenever you think that you relate to God by performance you will be cruel to people. It is a fact. Your heart becomes harsh because you start to see God as harsh. You act like whatever you think God is like and if you think God is harsh and mean, you will be harsh and mean to people.
2. Religious people have an impenitent heart.
This word means someone who is unable to change their mind. Religious people are unable to change their mind about anything. If someone is in their bad books, they are never going to be in their good books because religious people never change their mind.
If they grew up in a church that says that tongues is not for today, it does not matter what they read in the Bible about tongues they will never believe it because that would mean changing their mind.
Stubbornness and religion go hand in hand. If you are struggling with being stubborn, check your view of God: do you think that you impress God with your behaviour? Do you think that God is capricious and mean? If you do, get into the Bible and realize that God is a good God.
3. Religious people heap up trouble for themselves.
This word in the KJV is translated “treasurest up” because the Greek word is generally used to describe someone who is building up a pile of treasure or making themselves rich. However, metaphorically this word is used for someone who is following a lifestyle that ends up in a particular direction.
For example if someone is taking drugs, it is not difficult to predict where they will end up unless they change direction. We know that this is true for obvious sins like sexual immorality, drug taking or fits of rage and anger. However, the Bible here is teaching us that this is also true for religion.
If you think that you can impress God with your behaviour and even worse that your behaviour does impress God, then you will never come to God for His grace and mercy. You will always look to yourself and never to Christ.
Your direction will eventually be wrath – the accurate and precise judgment of God for your actions. Even your best actions are filthy rags. Your only righteousness that will enable you to escape the wrath of God is the righteousness of Jesus. If you continue in your good works you will end up in hell.
4. Religious people will be judged on the day of judgment.
This is great news for religious people. It might not sound like great news at first, but think about it: God could judge everyone right now but He does not. This is the age of grace. If someone as religious and spiteful and destructive as Saul could become the apostle of grace and kindness Paul, then anyone can change. Anyone can move into grace, receive Jesus, stop trying to live on their pathetic self-righteousness and start living as a king in the righteousness of God.
5. When God judges religious people, He will be right!
The Bible here calls God’s judgment righteous judgment. This means that God will never judge someone based on His mood, His bias or anything other than an accurate and precise assessment of someone’s actions.
If you live your life in a selfish way, focused on your righteousness and your goodness and never repenting for what you have done wrong and never trusting in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then you will end up in hell and it is right that you end up there.
The only way to enter heaven is through Jesus. Religious people still think that they can enter themselves because of their goodness. Some religious people think that it is just their goodness, others think it is some Jesus and some their goodness – both are completely and utterly wrong. It is only Jesus. If your trust is in something else you are in trouble, and it is right you are in trouble.
I urge you: put your trust in Jesus. ALONE!