Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,
and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
It’s the law!
Imagine if it were the law, that when you met a young man or woman and became ‘serious’ you must write love letters, you must hold hands, or you must buy flowers. It certainly is an inane concept isn’t it? It’s silly because when you fall in love with a person these types of things come naturally — they do not need to be legislated.
Love Does More
This is essentially Paul’s message to the church.
We are free of mandatory rites and rituals of religion; we are free because love does more than legalism. Legalism (just so we’re on the same page) is that doctrine that says, “Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ ~and~ something else.”
There is no something else.
It stands to reason that if legalism can drain the passion out of an earthly relationship, it will consume a spiritual one as well. All we need do is examine the church to see all the depleted souls who have given up on Christ because of man’s imposition of religious duty. This ought not to be.
Faith in Christ Jesus on its own will result in free display of passion; enthusiasm, zeal, and love. They cannot be legislated.
If that statement is true, why then do we see flocks of faithful people, those who had routinely declared, “It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship,” walking away from the church? It’s no wonder why legalists felt it necessary to impose rules and regulations as an aide to salvation. In that slim, sliver of light, legalism is an admirable, albeit misguided, gesture.
What’s the Answer?
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent (obedience) of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God‘s testimony, accompanied with a cordial (sincere) assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.”
The properly discipled believer will gratefully subject himself to the authority of Jesus Christ — simply put: rules and regulations are not necessary.
Although I used the words religion and religious in a negative context, I am not bashing those institutions. I savor the components of religion (prayer, worship, communion, baptism, marriage, etc), for these are the things I get to do. I do not consider them the things I must do.
Nor do I worship the components — I worship Jesus!
For me, religion is the word that defines the elements of my faith that can bring me into a closer relationship with the Lord. In that context, being religious is not the horrible thing that some believers have made it out to be.
I willingly confess, “I am religious!”
I pray religiously, I study the word religiously, I go to church religiously, I partake of Communion religiously, but I only worship, honor, serve, and obey my Lord and Savior.
And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
How about you?
- Are you a victim of legalism and/or religion?
- Are you faithful in the truest sense of the word?
- Are you allowing yourself to be discipled in God’s word?