A friend of mine emailed me some pictures of billboards going up somewhere in Tennessee for a certain political party. Two of the billboards suggested that if we choose their political candidate, America would have “Religious Freedom”.
I don’t want religion. Do you?
Religion is what the Sadducees and Pharisees had. When Jesus was teaching He didn’t hang out with the “religious” folks. He hung out with sinners and tax collectors. (BTW tax collectors must have been really bad, like Matthew, to have their own sin group.) Religion is about
playing by a set of rules. Following rules. Religion is about persecution and condemnation of sinners. Religion is about self-effort. Religion is for people who are trying to become “good (or better) Christians”.
Religion has NO PART in “love one another”.
The problem with religion is that sooner or later it’s defined by who’s following the rules and who’s not… kind of like the swimming pool with fences, wristbands and lifeguards watching your every move. A relationship with Jesus is more like the diving board at the pool. When you’re on one, you dive in, head first. You can’t take back a dive. Once you commit to dive in, you’re committed. And we invite others to dive in with us.
When we subordinate ‘the relationship’ to rules everyone loses. If rules could save us we wouldn’t need a Savior.
In Galatians 3 we read,
“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Galatians 3:2-5 and 10-14. NIV 1984
Religion is a system of living in which we try to make spiritual progress or gain God’s blessing by what we do. On the other hand, grace is a system of living in which God blesses us because we’re in Jesus Christ, and for no other reason.¹
So religion has nothing to do with freedom. On the contrary, those who want religion, seek religion, or live by religion are truly living in bondage to Satan’s lies. Religion has no freedom. I don’t want any part of religion. My freedom is in Christ. How about yours?
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¹The Grace Walk Experience, ©2004, by Steve McVey; Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene Oregon, 97402; pg.154.