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The Christian’s Continual Boxing Match – Round 9 of 10

July 7, 2010

Gospel vs. Religion

Round 9 of 10

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 9 of 10

Religion leads to a life full of pride, or a life full of despair.

Religion cannot work in one’s life because it either leads to pride (behaving well) or despair (behaving poorly). If you base your life on trying to earn salvation, or God’s approval, through moral conduct and religious devotion, you will live in pride or in despair.

Religious people have a long list in their mind of what kind of person God loves (a good person) and they make it their life ambition to do their moral duties and prove to God that they love Him by what they do. If they do their mental list well, they become arrogant and have little compassion for people who struggle with sin. The hard truth for all of us, even me, is that pride is the worst sin of all. Our culture loves “self-esteem” and labels pride a virtue, but please don’t forget that pride is what got Satan’s tail kicked out of heaven. Satan’s example shows that pride can keep my tail out of heaven if I fail to repent and fail to revolve my life around Gospel principles.

On the other hand, religion leads to despair for those with the humble honesty to admit they don’t fully obey God’s law, and they also don’t live up continually to the little rules they’ve made up that aren’t in the Bible. No matter how hard they try, they never quite measure up to Jesus’ standard of perfection given in Matthew 5:48. Not only this, but a religious person’s spouse and kids will live in despair under this pressured example.

Gospel leads to a humbly, confident, joyous life full of obedience.

The Gospel teaches us that righteousness is not our own, but rather a gift from Jesus because of His work on the cross, which will lead into our final topic next week. Updated score: Gospel: 9, Religion: goose egg.


[1] Driscoll, Mark, Death by Love, pg. 98-99

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Zach | | Leave a comment