Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Religious Baggage

We often read the Bible with a whole load of religious baggage that tells us the good news is really some good news and some bad news. We have been taught (wrongly) to read the Bible from a perspective that Gods love comes with conditions and demands performance and that moral excellence is the goal, not intimate relationship.

You struggle in reading the Bible because His indwelling within you does not agree with how we have been taught to understand the words written about Him. We have been taught to understand the words and the definitions but not the meaning, not the intent and not the purpose. My wife and I quarrel sometimes over what we said, until we find we had agreement in what we meant.

We have been taught that our salvation, our abundant life is a legal matter in which we were condemned before we were even born and that by saying certain words, in a certain order and showing a proper attitude and ever striving to be "holy" we can approach Him, but even then in fear and trembling.

Most of us have been taught this, from Derek Flood blog Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor :

You have broken the law because it is impossible to keep it, and so you must have broken it. And because you cannot keep this impossible to keep law you will be charged with death because "the penalty for sin is death" and those are just the rules. God must have blood because the law requires it; there must be a penalty paid. The only payment that would have been enough is sacrificing someone who was the "perfect law-keeper", someone who could live a perfect life without sin. So God decided to kill his own Son on the cross to appease his legal need for blood. Now that Jesus has been sacrificed God is no longer mad at us for not doing what we can't do anyway, so we can now come and live with him forever - as long as we are grateful to him for his "mercy" to us.

Is it any wonder we struggle with that kind of baggage?

But the very same Jesus who walked physically on this earth for several years is the very same Jesus who was with God before time. And before time they (the Trinity) planned for our adoption into their relationship. At just the right time Jesus came as a human (while still fully God) so that we could comprehend the one who before then was incomprehensible. He further offered His life for our sin so that we could know of His great love for us. He did not die to appease His angry Father; He died so that we might see His great love for us.

The Good News is that once we become aware of the truth of that we are transformed forever. That is the knowledge you have in your heart. That is the reason we struggle with our mind, because our mind has been taught by religion for the purpose of binding us. One definition of religion is "a return to bondage".

Some say you cannot trust your heart; they will even quote scriptures to "prove" your heart is deceitful. My response to that is that when He made me a new creation, which included a new heart, His heart.

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