This past Sunday I attended Riverbank Church (www.riverbankchurch.com) as they began a series in the book of James. I had planned on writing about the topic of faith without works however, due to unseen circumstances, I have had to rearrange a few things for the blog.
So I wanted to share this with you guys. Again, this covers the topic of semantics. I know one of the more popular phrases in Christian culture these days is I love Jesus but I hate religion. I know as you read that you’re probably thinking, yeah so what? I’ll be honest I’ve said the phrase more times than I can count. I’m part of the guilty party who loudly stands up and says, I love Jesus but hate religion!
Heres where the issue lies, the phrase is problematic. Sure there are books that focus on Jesus hating religion and Jesus being better than religion. The problem is that religion is always focused on what we do or can do to earn acceptance, favor, right standing and forgiveness from God. It is completely self centered. The truth is that our acceptance to God is all because of Jesus. Our favor from God is all because of Jesus. Our right standing with God is all because of Jesus. Our forgiveness is all because of Jesus. When we discuss the idea that we can do something to earn something, we have ventured beyond religion and into legalism. Legalism says do, not religion. Legalism says Jesus plus your works equals salvation. Legalism is the problem.
This is why I love Jesus and Religion|
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
When you or say I love Jesus but hate we hate religion, we imply that …
1] Caring for orphans doesn’t matter.
2] Caring for widows doesn’t matter.
3] Abstaining from the world by seeking first the kingdom of God & His righteousness doesn’t matter.
The first problem so to say that the church encountered was this lack of caring for widows. The problem was addressed and we were introduced to Stephen who became the first known martyr. His death gave Paul the opportunity to arrest Christians and thus meet Christ on the Damascus road. The issue was widows were being overlooked in food rations. The disciples taught a Biblical principle of staying faithful to your calling and delegating responsibility to able men. What the disciples did not do when they heard about issue was throw up their hands and cry, I love Jesus but hate religion.
Religion doesn’t teach that obedience earns our salvation; that is legalism. Religion may be the “To-do” list of Christianity but it still is a matter of the heart. Our obedience or lack thereof is a response to the identity and work of Christ. He gave his all and so should we.
Love Jesus. Love Religion. ____________________________________________________________________
why I love jesus & religion| written by mike monica