Read this passage carefully…
8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. 9 " 'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"- safe to do all these detestable things? (Jeremiah 7:8-10 NIV)
To update these words, it would sound like this:
“Get smart! Your leaders are handing you a pack of lies and you’re swallowing them! Use your heads! Do you think you can rob, murder, have sex with all the neighborhood wives, tell lies nonstop, worship the local gods, and buy every novel religious commodity on the market–and then march into this Temple, set apart for my worship, and say, ‘We’re safe!’ –thinking that the place itself gives you a license to go on with all this outrageous sacrilege?” (The Message translation).
Jeremiah is ranting about hypocrisy. His condemnation is for people who live in sinful activity all week long, and then go to church on Sunday morning and believe they are safe just because they attend church.
Imagine going to the doctor because you’ve had an outbreak of red sores on your skin. After a quick examination the doctor says, “You’ve got chickenpox. I’ll prescribe a pill that will kill the infection inside you, and over time the red sores will disappear.” But you reply, “No, I don’t want the pill. I just want something that will take care of the red sores right now. I would prefer some calamine lotion or maybe a jumbo pack of Band-Aids.”
WE WANT GOD TO HEAL US ON THE SURFACE, the place where everyone can see, BUT WE DON’T LET HIM INTO THE PLACE WHERE THE REAL INFECTION IS. God is not interested in us simply coming to church. He is not going to Band-Aid my sin either. He wants to get to the root of the matter – the thoughts and beliefs that make us rebel and live in willful sin.
No. We will never be perfect this side of heaven. But we experience true freedom when we let God transform us from the inside out.