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RELIGION vs. THE GOSPEL

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The following was given out at Arcade Church and a friend of mine that goes there gave me a copy and I thought it was really cool so I wanted to share it with you all.

Religion: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

Religion: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to delight and resemble Him.

Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while He may allow this for my training, He will exercise His Fatherly love within my trial.

Religion: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person.’

THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

Religion: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of my surroundings.

THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of long stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

Religion: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate. I am not confident, I feel like a failure.

THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on my view of myself as a moral achiever. In Christ I am simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad He had to die for me and I am so loved He was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.

Religion: My identity and self worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’

THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the One who died for His enemies. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

Religion: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.


THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.1

I know I want to follow the Gospel but sometimes I fall into the religion trap. So I am posting this as much as for me than for anyone else. Hope you find it makes you think like it did for me. J

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1 Adapted from Timothy Keller, The Gospel in Life Study Guide, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 16.

What He did

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Sunday, April 1, 2012


 

Jesus, He:

Created, appeared, was prophesied about, hoped for, called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (And mightily lives up to all of those even today), was born, lived a human life, honored His mother and earthy father (and His real Father too), never killed, swore, had no other God before Him, never had or worshiped a carved image, never took His name or His Fathers name in vain, kept the sabbath day (As it was meant to be kept by God’s rules and not man’s), never committed adultery (He was never married, but He also never committed fornication), never stole anything, did not bear false witness against anyone, never coveted anything that belonged to someone else, worked with His hands, was called, baptized, baptized (once by water and then by the Holy Spirit), fasted, prayed, was tempted, called others to follow Him, made plain the teaching of God, upset the phonies, healed, loved, gave all of Himself, befriended sinners, longed for those lost, taught, lived what He taught, amazed many, commanded demons, entered Jerusalem on a colt, was stalked, betrayed, arrested, claimed He was that I AM, given an unfair trial, humiliated, mocked, crucified, laid in a tomb, RAISED TO LIFE, is still alive today, has a free gift of salvation, beat Satan, will come again on the clouds, take His children home, destroy sin, start a new world, live forever, give us everlasting life and He is real, really.


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