I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.
It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.
You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.
It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…
What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.
As we begin today, let’s lay the ground work with God’s original design of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We know from Genesis chapters 1 and 2, that God had placed Adam and Eve into a completed garden; God placed them into His finished work – that right there is very informative to anyone with ears to hear.
God also gave them dominion over creation. We see this in Genesis 1:28. This tells us that man was not simply an afterthought in the creation plan of God, but was actually the chief component of it; and that man was given a proper place of authority to rule creation under the delegated authority of God.
We can also see in Genesis 2:16, that God allowed them to freely eat from every tree in the Garden. Take special note of the word “freely” because it demonstrates the true generosity of God here. They were not given “merely enough” or “just enough to survive” but they could freely eat as much as they wanted. This is mirrored in Jesus’ feeding of the multitude when the people were allowed to eat as much as they wanted… Jesus’ supply stopped when the people were fully satisfied to their contentment.
These facts may seem like small things, but I would invite you to stop for a few moments and truly consider the overall picture that is being painted of God, and also of who we were created to be, as well as the position which we ere created to exist in.
God is the one who did the work.
God is the one who created the Garden.
God is the one who filled it.
And God is the one who placed Adam and Eve into His completed work, and gave them dominion over it and ability to enjoy it.
Are you listening? Are you seeing?
Likewise, God has placed us today inside of the completed work of Jesus Christ; in that work is all the treasure, provision and riches of His kingdom, In Him we are filled with all of the very fullness of God, according to Ephesians 3:19.
And He is the one who has given us authority and dominion as part of His kingdom (Revelation 1:6, 1st Peter 2:9, 2nd Corinthians 10:4, Luke 10:17-19, Romans 5:17). The scriptures go into great detail in explaining the authority that He has given to us. And many believers today have very little (if any) recognition of the authority that they have in Christ Jesus. And so many of them sadly live defeated lives – held captive by darkness which Jesus actually sacrificed Himself to free them from; but they live in ignorance of it.
This is part of the backwards mentality of religion. Religion sets people on a never-ending treadmill of trying to obtain something that they already have (just as with Eve in the Garden which we studied previously). People who are stuck on the treadmill of religion, are constantly reaching for something, striving, sacrificing and working to try and obtain, what Jesus has already sacrificed, worked for, and given as a free gift – and it can only be obtained in Him.
You see, Colossians 1:12-14, says something that quite honestly many people who claim to be “believers”, simply do not believe, let’s take a look:
“Giving thanks to the Father, which has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Take notice of the details of what this is saying my friend because it is telling you precisely who Jesus has made you to be, and also it is telling you what your position in Christ Jesus is!
There are entire scores of people in Christian assemblies who are oblivious to this reality, and they are living their lives in weakness and defeat – and it’s utterly needless!
In verse 12 here, we can see that the normal behavior and demeanor of one who has received Jesus Christ and believes on Him for salvation should not be one of fear, guilt and sadness, but one of thanks. However please take notice that it does not stop there. We should naturally be giving thanks to the Father, because He has made is fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Notice that the term “has made us” is past-tense. We are not waiting to be made fit to be partakers. Nor are we currently in the process of being made fit.
No – rather He has made us fit to be partakers, we merely need to accept the free gift of His salvation through Jesus Christ.
Likewise, verse 13 tells us that He has delivered us from the power of darkness!
This is a big one! There are a lot of people searching high and low, struggling and striving to obtain deliverance. Yet we can see here that deliverance has already been given by Jesus Christ!
Look at verse 13 again and you will clearly see that God the Father has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son!
So often, people who have been trapped in religion, struggle and work and try to earn all of these things, when they can truly only be received through the free gift of Grace, by Jesus Christ!
Then we have verse 14, which says that In Him (that’s Christ again) in Christ, we have redemption, through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
This is another big one for a whole lot of people, because they have been religiously indoctrinated to exist in a state of perpetual guilt. They have been told that they need to clean themselves up before God will ever accept them, or bless them; and so they are firmly planted on the treadmill of works and efforts, and trapped in the cycle of sin, guilt and shame.
However what we can see here in verse 14 is that just as with everything else, we have redemption through His blood. It is the blood of Christ which gives us redemption – even the forgiveness of sins!
It is not something that we earn, work towards, or strive for. It is given to us on the basis of Jesus Christ alone, and our acceptance of His free gift of Grace.
Galatians 3:13-14 make it abundantly clear that:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree:
That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
We are redeemed from the curse of the Law, and we are blessed, all by one single way: through Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life – the definite article for all three.
Today my friend, I encourage you to finally get off of the treadmill of Religion; get rid of the backwards mentality, that is 180 degrees opposite from what the scriptures actually teach, and embrace the free gift of God’s grace, through Jesus Christ.
You are made fit, completely righteous. You have been delivered, set free, and you have been redeemed from every curse, and blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Now receive, live, and be blessed.