Genesis 34 is a dark and difficult chapter in the life of Jacob and his family. To begin the chapter, Dinah, Jacob's daughter, is raped. As the story unfolds, the young man who took advantage of Dinah, Shechem, wants to marry her. Dinah's brothers, who are justifiably outraged, deceitfully strike a deal with people of the city. The deal is this: Jacob and his family will live in the city and give Dinah in marriage to Shechem, so long as all the men of the city undergo circumcision.
Surprisingly, all the men happily agree to the terms. Simeon and Levi, Dinah's two brothers who led the charge in this deception, must have been slick talkers to pull this off (much like their father).
This is the point where I want to make one gospel application from the text. Genesis 34:25 reads, "On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah's brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males."
I don't wish to talk about the deed itself, I simply wish to make this spiritual point: After all the men of the city underwent circumcision, they "felt secure." But they were never more vulnerable. They felt secure in what they did but were entirely exposed.
Similarly, let us not be deceived by the false sense of security that comes with mere religious activity. It is far too easy for us to look at the good works and religious deeds that we have done, or to look at all the evil things that we have not done, and feel in ourselves a sense of security that we ought not to have.
Our good works and religious activity may, in our society, raise us above the ranks of criminals or blatantly immoral people; but apart from Christ, outward goodness and works of religion heap only more condemnation on us before a Holy God.
True security is only found in Christ's activity for us. It is only Christ's perfectly lived life and atoning death on our behalf that gives us security. It is only in Christ, clothed in His righteousness, that we are accepted by a Holy God. More than that, we are loved by a Holy God, there in the clothes of Christ.
Let us learn to be slow to trust our feelings in religion. Let our security of salvation not be found in our good progress or sanctification but in Christ. And let us not trust that we are fine, simply because of religious activity. Ultimately, it is being in Christ that is our security, not our feeling it; and not our feeling of security in things other than Christ.