The difference between having a relationship with God and having a "religion".
FREE-DUMB! (WHAT WE DON'T KNOW DOES HURT US)
"We don't defend our freedom aggressively"
When we don't defend our freedom aggressively...we are robbed of 2 precious things...
1. We are robbed of RELATIONSHIP & left with RELIGION
Galatians 5:1-6 (Freedom in Christ) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
STAND FIRM! it says. In other words, Be aggressive! In those days they believed the only way you could be accepted by God was to obey the law. Their outward sign of circumcision became "bondage" to them. They became bound to that "outward sign".
Romans 3:19-25a (Righteousness through faith) Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
Paul is saying that the reason God gave us the law was to show us our problem, not to live it perfectly. Many times people think they are "good enough" b/c they compare themselves to other people. Compared to other PEOPLE they probably are pretty "good". BUT when compared to GOD, no one is "good enough". It says "for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". B/c when we compare ourselves to God, we will ALWAYS "fall short". God gave us the law to show our need, not as a ritual to follow. The peole in that day had moved from "relationship" to "religion". Things today aren't all that different, are they?
Philippians 3:4-11 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
In a Relationship - we have Position - we are adopted into his family, given equality, given mercy, grace and purpose
In Religion - it's about Performance - it is not about position, it's about performance, not about receiving but about acheivent, there is no contemptment. It is about works, not faith.
The Results - our Identity - in a relationship God defines you; in religion others define you (friends, boss, spouse, etc) In a relationship you strive to please God. in religion you strive to please others.
In a Relationship - you have Freedom & Peace - In the Galatians passage it says "do not be burdened again". You are free to fail when you have a relationship with God. When you are free to fail with God you tend to allow others to be free to fail. When you fail, you have the peace in knowing you are also forgiven by God, in turn you are also more forgiving of others when they fail.
In Religion - you have Frustration & Anxiety - it is never enough. There is always worry about failing or about it not being enough and you tend to look at others that way.
The Result - our Attitude - attitudes are completely different between people who have a relationship with God, compared to those who are in a religion.
In a Relationship - we Obey Because We're Loved
In Religion - we Obey To 'Earn' Love
The Result - our Motivation - when we are in a relationship with God we love b/c we were loved first and love unconditionally. In religion we try to force others to earn our love, we have conditional love.
2. We are robbed of Confidence & Left with Condemnation
Without spiritual freedom, all other freedoms become bondage - an addiction. We can't stand on both - relationship and religion. It has to be one or the other. No one is good enough. When we are bound to our freedoms, they become free-dumbs. We are "dumb" in our identity, attitude and motivation.
Are you in a relationship or religion?
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