Moral fervor is our deepest evil. When we intend to serve God, but forget to crucify Self moment by moment, we are capable of acting cruelly while feeling virtuous about it.
Let’s always beware that delicious feeling that we are the defenders of the holy. Christ is the only Defender of the holy. He defends us from persecutors. He defends us from becoming persecutors. We can take refuge in him. But that esteem of him also means we regard ourselves with suspicion, especially when judging another.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
– 1 John 2:1
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
– Hebrews 7:25
This is why the message of the gospel is not “Behave!” but “Believe!”