The Apostle Paul’s zeal for following the traditions of his religion led him to relentlessly persecute the church of Jesus Christ. As a Jew, he was entrusted with the oracles of God, but he was so indoctrinated with religious traditions that he tried to destroy Christ’s church. He wrote: “For you have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God …being more exceedingly zealous of the tradition of my fathers” (Gal. 1:13). Paul bore witness to having a zeal for God but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2). He had a knowledge of his religion, but not a spiritual knowledge of God which God imparts only to those who exchange their religion for a relationship with Christ (1 Cor. 2:14). His religious pride and arrogance had blinded him from the glorious light of the Gospel (Phil. 3:5-6; 2 Cor. 4:4). When God gave him spiritual eyes to see the truth of His Word he was miraculously transformed from being a merciless persecutor of the church to an passionate evangelist for the church.

Tragically, many Roman Catholics are like the unconverted Paul. They have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. They seek to become righteous before God because they do not know God’s righteousness requires perfect righteousness, which they can never achieve. Like the Jews, who were “ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness” (Rom. 10:3). The Catholic religious system makes gullible people believe they can achieve their own righteousness before a perfectly righteous God. They don’t have a spiritual understanding of God and have brought Him down to their level. God has alarming words to say to such religious people: “You thought that I was one like yourself, but now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. 

The only hope we have is to receive the gift of God’s perfect righteousness (Rom. 5:17). That is our only passport into heaven. It is available free for the asking to those who repent of their own filthy rags of righteousness and trust in Christ alone for salvaiton (Isa. 64:6).