Saturday, April 23, 2011

Religion vs. Gospel

"I'm religious because I believe in God and Jesus."  "I'm religious because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected."  "I'm religious because I go to church almost every Sunday."
Religion isn't satisfying.  The gospel is - it is life giving.
But what makes the gospel so much sweeter than religion? 
The gospel isn't about me or what I accomplish.
The gospel is about Jesus Christ.
Gospel people have a covenant relationship with perfect King Jesus who bore the wrath of God on their behalf.
He rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
The gospel is life changing.

Religion vs. Gospel
I obey - therefore I am accepted.
I'm accepted - therefore I obey.
Ephesians 2:8 - 10
Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
Motivation is based on grateful joy.
I John 4:7 - 11
The world is filled with good people and bad people.
The world is filled with sinners who are either repentant and trust in Jesus' death for their life, or sinners who are unrepentant and remain spiritually dead and separated from God under His wrath.
Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23
Religion is about what you do.
The Gospel is about what Jesus has done.
Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18
Religion is our attempt to manipulate God: do the right thing to get stuff from Him.
The Gospel is about us receiving God himself. He is our greatest treasure, highest joy, and source of life.
Philippians 3:8-9
When life is hard, I get angry at God or myself because I am entitled to a comfortable life.
When life is hard, I struggle, but I know that God loves me and uses evil for good.  Therefore, I have hope and joy in him regardless of circumstances.
Psalm 23:4; John 16:33; Philippians 4:11-13; Hebrews 12:1-13
Religion leads to pride (for keeping the rules) or despair (for failing to keep the rules).
The Gospel leads to humility (our righteousness is a gift from Jesus, not an achievement of our own).
Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:1-11
I lack assurance - have I done enough to please God?
Assurance - our standing before God is contingent on Jesus alone, who is perfect.
1 John 5:11-14
 (Chart from Mars Hill Church,
 Religion is about baptism, confirmation, asking Jesus into your heart, or anything else that can become your boast before Christ.  The gospel is about faith in Christ and repentance, knowing that our only boast is in Christ.  Religion doesn't change what your Saturday night partying looks like; the gospel does.  Religion doesn't change you; the gospel does.  
This Easter, I encourage you to put your faith and hope in the King who is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed!