‘Religion’ now has a very bad name.
A friend from church was recently out for a meal with work colleagues. With the terrorist threat from jihadists now a given in modern life, the conversation turned to the evils of ‘religion.’ To their surprise, my friend, whom they knew to be a Christian, said he agreed with them. How come?
It has often been rightly said that Jesus came not to bring a new ‘religion’ but a new relationship. His hallmark was introducing an almost new name for God – ‘our Father’. He brings us into the family of God, spiritually by new birth and forensically by justification and adoption (Galatians 4.4-7).
Blind, boasting bullies
The evidence shows the Lord Jesus was vehemently against ‘religion’. ‘Religion’ focuses on us. It majors on us keeping rules, following the right example, doing good in order, supposedly, to gain favour with the Almighty.
The Pharisees were the great religionists of Jesus’s day and he rebuked them in no uncertain terms. Religion burdens sensitive people and crushes them because they know they can’t make the grade (Matthew 23.4); It turns people who think they can be good enough into boasting hypocrites (Matthew 23.5,7); It blinds people to themselves as they persuade themselves they are good enough (Matthew 23.24); It encourages people to be bullies and persecutors – ‘those who don’t keep the rules deserve to be shot’ (Matthew 23.33, 34). Instead Jesus spoke about a new heart, grace and knowing God.
The trouble is that real Christians can have a tendency ….to read more click here