“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
The Holy Spirit inside us (the new temple of God) – sanctifying us – is more important than the bread or wine which many Christians believe (perhaps correctly – not making an argument about that here) the Holy Spirit sanctifies or makes holy.
Apart from a personal faith in the blood of Christ – which cleanses us from all unrighteousness – the sacraments are meaningless.
Bread, wine, and water are not more important than the Holy Spirit who sanctifies (them or us).
In case you’re wondering, I’m not trying to make a case against the importance of communion or baptism here. I believe both are practices which Christ commanded his followers to continue.
Yet Christ himself – and his Holy Spirit – are more important than either of these things. These acts themselves – apart from a genuine relationship with Christ – have no meaning.
Participating in communion every Sunday does not make you a Christian.
It is the Holy Spirit’s presence within us which sanctifies – which makes all things in which we engage – for the glory of God – holy and sacred.
And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Religion makes the works of human flesh and the sacraments more important than God himself – the Spirit who sanctifies.
Religion seeks the elemental things of this world – things destined to perish – to connect with the eternal fire of the Spirit who consumes all.
The order of pursuit is reversed. We are pursuing elemental things in order to meet the Spirit, rather than first pursuing the Spirit of Christ (through salvation) for sanctification of the flesh and of anything elemental, temporal, or physical in which we engage for his glory.
Many religious but unsaved people believe that they’ll please God by engaging in the sacraments. We can only be pleasing to Him through the work of Christ on the cross alone – not on the basis of anything we do or don’t do – only receiving that which Christ has already done.