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The Christian’s Continual Boxing Match – Round 5 of 10

June 9, 2010

Gospel vs. Religion

I’m a good Christian. I hear that a lot. What they’re really saying is, I follow the rules. I worship the rules. Too many Christians have turned religion into an idol. The reason that idolatry is so alluring is that idols promise to make life worth living, bring us happiness, and provide for us and sense of being good. All of these desires are fine, but they become evil when they become our focus, rather than Jesus, who alone makes life worth living[1]. For many, it seems that control, comfort, and quiet are the idols many people are devoted to worshipping. We have elevated many things to a god-like status that aren’t really God-like at all. Over the next 10 weeks, I’d like to make aware the 10 differences between God’s truth (gospel) and the Christian’s idol (religion).

Round 5 of 10

Religion says, Hardship is an unloving punishment.

Gospel says, Hardship is a sanctifying discipline.

To start this one off, God does deal with the sins of Christians. Scripture examples show us that even death is a consequence of a Christian who remains unrepentant. Ananias and Sapphira (don’t name your kids these names no matter how cool they sound) dies in Acts 5:1-11 as a result of stealing from and lying to God. Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 die as a result of taking the Lord’s Supper without repenting of sin. And to continue the good news, in James 5:13-18 God speaks of Christians becoming sick because of unrepentant sin, and 1 John 5:16 speaks of sin that leads to death.

In Hebrews 12:5-13, God reminds us that He is the loving Father who disciplines, chastises, or punishes His children appropriately, sometimes painfully, because He loves them. He does it for our good so our faith in Him can grow. Some hardship does come from God’s holy hand as a consequence for rebellious sin. HOWEVER, when He disciplines me, He doesn’t condemn me and certainly never breaks His relationship with me. He is never cruel, harsh, vindictive, or uncaring with His children. And throughout all the discipline and hardship we face, God is with us all the way.

Remember what David said in Psalm 23:4? Eat that Religion. Gospel wins Round 5.

Zach


[1] Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love, pg. 93

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June 9, 2010 - Posted by | Zach |

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