Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gospel Essence

Over time words lose their impact. They become too loaded. Too many differing ideas of their nuance erode the meaning attached to them. Christianity is one such word. It no longer means anything precise enough to truly be used without qualifying. One qualification that has also begun to lose its aim is the old “religion vs. relationship” comparison.

The qualities that distinguish a follower of Jesus from a tower to heaven builder are trust and surrender.

Religion is all about self-reliance. The point of every religion is construction of a worldview that supplies the ascribed with the means to appease the powers that be for wrongs and shortcomings they have committed. Sometimes the powers that be are really just religious professionals exerting power. Other times the individual gets to determine how they apply the religious ideas they agree with or like. Either way, religion is all about saving oneself.

Those who follow Jesus, however, are completely other reliant. They have to trust that the God of the universe has done everything to solve the problem of human guilt. They have to recognize both that they are wrong and that there is nothing they can do to fix it. They have to give up their quest to make things right and surrender to His judgment, solution, and control of their lives. They are completely dependent on Him for everything.

In this sense a lot of “relationship” people have still missed the mark. In a lot of evangelicalism, Christianity has gone from being a religion about rules to a religion of knowledge. A lot of people think it is not about what you DO, but about what you KNOW. That is Gnosticism, something that the Bible and early Christians battled against but that has pretty much taken over much of “Christianity.”

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