That’s right. Too much ‘religion’, in not only the Lutheran churches, but the Roman Catholic churches and the Protestant churches, and the Pentecostal churches, the non-denominational denominations, Baptist churches, yada yada yada….
If we define ‘religion’ as that which we do to ascend to the divine, or grasp some sort of personal spirituality, then there is way too much of that going on, in all the churches.
‘Religion’, puts the onus on you. What you do. What you feel. What you say. What you think.
Faith, what Christ is after in us, is quite another matter.
Faith puts the onus on Christ. On what He has done. On what He is doing, and on what He will yet do.
So, am I saying that we are unimportant. Heavens no! Of course we are important, or He would not have died for us.
What we do is important. But not for God’s sake. He doesn’t even need us. But our neighbors do. We were created for good works, but those good works are properly directed outward and not upward.
Christ put to death on the cross, the ‘religion project’. It was nailed there along with Christ to that instrument of death. “It is finished.” We are finished. The old Adam was also staked to that wood and left to die.
Too far back for you to relate? OK, well the same thing happened when you were baptised. The old sinful self was put to death. The religion project, the self improvement project to please God, was held under the water and drowned. (Romans 6:3)
When we lose faith in this act of God, when we feel like we must show our faithfulness, that we are serious about God, we naturally engage in ‘religion’. Doing to impress God, doing to impress the neighbor, and doing to impress ourselves.
Baptism and the Lord’s supper take a back seat. They revert to, or always were, just symbols of my faithfulness, instead of the living presence of God for us (His faithfulness to us), to assure us of His presence and work in our lives.
So give up ‘religion’ and take up your faith! Trust in what He has done and not in anything that you might do. That is the freedom, the real freedom, that Christ has won for you.
– Steve M.
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