The Gospel doesn’t change with time. The Gospel changes me, over time.
The Gospel is about what Jesus did. Religion is about what I must pay because of “what I did.”
Religion pays with a trace of good deeds what Jesus has paid in total with his blood.
Religion is taking a spoon to the ocean, holding it up and saying “Look God, I’ve been good. Here are my deeds and my trying.”
Jesus is the entire ocean that accounts for every place we’ve fallen short, drowning fears, shame and insecurity in the depths of His mercy.
Religion is taking a magnifying glass to the spots on your shirt, pointing them out and calling for you to “clean it up.”
Jesus is taking the shirt off you and giving you the one off his back, entirely free from blemish.
Religion is driving by the old, abandoned house surrounded by weeds and trees, overlooked and left long ago with a sign that reads “foreclosed.”
Jesus is the Holy Spirit coming into that place, taking up residence, and cleaning up one area at a time.
When asked “Why?” The Holy Spirit points to Jesus.
When the inspectors go to Jesus and ask the reason for such a massive renovation, Jesus says, I’ve been knocking on doors all around this neighborhood. This was the only one that let me in.
Religion sees the image we all want to portray. Jesus sees the reality of the heart and gives us a new one if we will turn from our sin and to Him.
Here I speak of “religion” as in dry, rituals and routine rule-keeping for the sake of thinking you are “better.” This is not the Good News of Jesus Christ but the sad fact is many churches have made it synonymous with it. Christianity is a religion, but different than others because at its heart is a relationship.
Most people think they are “not that bad” because they haven’t sinned like some have so overtly and so “well.” But the Bible says that if any one of us but breaks one part of the law (the ten commandments) we are guilty of breaking them all. Jesus said intentions count as transgressions. The penalty for such a crime is death (physical and spiritual). And so we all die. And we all are born naturally separated from God (spiritual death). But God came to fix that and lived perfectly, dying blamelessly for every one of us so now we can be born, again (John 3:2-8). If we will accept Him as Lord and Savior, we can be born of His Spirit and experience the great Renovation inside and be filled with joy, forever. He is faithful.
Written by Alex Oram