Christ or Religion?
by Lynette Woods

"Don't assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you're an insider to God's revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God's revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I'm quite serious. While preaching "Don't steal!" are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and His law. The line from Scripture, "It's because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God," shows it's an old problem that isn't going to go away.

"Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren't perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was "trying to be good," I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

"What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with Him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

"Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily." (Paul - Romans 2:17-24; Galatians 2:18-20 TM)

RELIGION
(Latin relig(are) to tie, fasten (re- + ligare to bind, obligate; + -ion)

Man's way of trying to please God

Must have buildings & meetings

External

Physical

Outward stimulation

Based on performance

Do!

Controls

Dominates

Conforms

Our appearance is important

We choose

Legal, law of sin and death

Rules to keep

Joined

Organized

Officially members or adherents

Attend in body

Duty

Uses guilt and shame

Something you are part of

Obligated

Ruled

Committed

Outward form

Masquerade

Competitive

Must see results

Size, appearance, "many things"

Can use and abuse

Patronizing

Visible and obvious

Security in doing what's "right"

Expectations

Disillusionment

Rely on leaders, works etc

Hierarchy, clergy & laity

Using natural abilities

Knowledge of a holy book

Head based

Impersonal

Earthly

Dead

CHRIST
(Gk christos anointed, trans. of Heb mashiah anointed, Messiah)

God's Way and Satisfaction

We are His Building & meeting place

Internal

Spiritual

Internal motivation

Based on what Christ has done

Done!

Releases

Serves

Transforms

Our disappearance is important

We are chosen

Law of Love and Life

Relationship to treasure

Birthed

Organic

Unofficially inseparable

Joined as One in spirit

Desire

Accepted

Someone you are part of

Liberated

Loved

Smitten

Inward truth

Real

Unwarranted approval

Unseen results

One Thing

Loves and will not force

Paternal and familial

Invisible and often hidden

Being in the One Who is Right

Expectancy

Illumination

Rely on Christ

Family, brothers and sisters

Availability to do all things

Knowing Christ (the Word of God)

Heart based

Intimately personal

Heavenly

Alive


 

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 TM


Related Articles:
Religion... But not as we've known it
Ten Commandments... But not as we've known them
Hear Him!

   
     

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