The Backwards Mentality of Religion

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.

God’s Reconciliation of You

Reconciliation is a word that is used fairly common in the New Covenant writings. The scriptures go to some lengths to describe to us the fact that through Jesus Christ, we have been “reconciled to God” – but what exactly does that mean?

The simple definition of the word “reconcile” is to return to favor, or to make one acceptable, which is basically what has indeed happened, but there is more to it than simply that. The fact that the scriptures make a point that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, tells us something specific that highlights a picture of Jesus, and our new identity in Him that can be quite a blessing; and I would like to share it with you today in this study.

Pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes (part 3)

Welcome back to the third part of our series of studies focusing on seeing Jesus and pictures of Him and His finished work, right there in the first part of His sermon on the mount, known as the Beatitudes.

So far we have just begun to scratch the surface as we began looking at the first three of the Beatitudes; and already we have seen some amazing pictures of Jesus.
Today we will obviously continue with more of the Beatitudes as we see more pictures of Jesus

Know That You Are Completely Clean Forever

One of the biggest hindrances (if not the only hindrance) to intimacy with God, is sin. Almost every single believer, and even most non-believers know this to be true. With that said, what is to be done about it?

This is where most people tend to branch-off into different directions regarding the solution to the sin problem. Some people set-out on a grand life-long quest to try and rid-themselves of wrong behaviors, wrong thoughts, and to “clean themselves” up, always reaching but never truly attaining perfection.
Others become so confused and intimidated by the whole problem that they become discouraged and defeated and just shut-down on the whole thing.
Still others accept their sin and decide that since they can’t do anything about it anyway, they might as well indulge it all the way.

But are any of these ways correct?

Must we live a defeated and striving life here on this earth dominated by sin and beaten-down with sin-consciousness?

Today in this study, we are going to answer that question, and through the finished work of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant of Grace, you will be able to have assurance, and confidence in your position from this day onward.

Your Union With Christ

In many Christian circles there is talk about the relationship with Christ, we hear about that quite often in-fact, and I have mentioned it many times in these studies as well. However it has come to my attention that there is actually some misunderstanding regarding what this phrase means. In some ways we have turned this simple phrase into something mystical, magical or difficult to comprehend, when in-fact it is so simple.

As a result of this confusion, what actually is very simple and straightforward, now seems out of reach to many people. I have spoken with many Christians who are chasing after this unicorn of “relationship with Christ”, when it actually has already been given. And as such, believers are left dazed, confused and wondering when it will be completed, never realizing that the work was completed long ago.

This is what I want to share with you today – the truth about your union with Christ.

The Absolute Perfection of Christ

Jesus is perfect. As believers that statement might not be too surprising. Most Christians would say “Amen” to it, and agree with the statement without thinking twice. Yet in practice there are some areas where we don’t take into account just how very deep His perfection runs. For example, let me ask you a simple question: If you could obey the Law of Moses perfectly, would you be righteous?

Most of the Christians that I have discussions with, would answer “yes”, and indeed many are trying to do exactly that… they are trying to continually improve their behavior to align to what they call the “moral law” (even though the Law of Moses really has no divisions or separate categories).

Additionally, many of the Christians that I speak with, believe that this is all that Jesus did; they believe that the reason Jesus was the perfect sacrifice was because He simply kept the Law of Moses perfectly.

And what I want to share with you today, is the fact that Jesus’ perfection is so much deeper than that! I want to expand your vision and broaden your horizon to see much more of His perfection than what is generally seen. And as you see the perfection of Jesus today, you will be able to more fully appreciate what He has accomplished for you.

Your Victory in Christ, By Putting on Incorruption

As I’ve mentioned the last couple of weeks… I talk to a lot of people who claim to be believers in Christ, but seem to have more defeats than victories, They are constantly recounting the details of their latest trial, latest hardships or their latest burdens. From their perspective, the enemy is always on the offensive, and they are always on the defensive, struggling just to survive and make it through another day.

I see this quite often and it’s sad, it should not be. There are millions of people who have been deceived in the worst possible way, to quite literally spend their entire lives being subjugated by an already defeated fore. A foe who has been completely beaten and spoiled by Jesus Christ Himself.

Today what I want to share with you, is the victory (yes, victory!) that you have in Christ today, right now. Not sometime later when you get to heaven, but right now today in this world. And by seeing this, you will not need to live another single second in defeat. You will no longer be held hostage by a powerless enemy any longer.

The Lie of “Almost”

Of the many lies that the enemy has spread about God, few are as varied, as widespread and as damaging as what I have come to call, the lie of “Almost.” In-fact this particular lie is so prevalent, and takes so many forms, I can say that it comes up in some fashion in almost every conversation that I encounter about the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Let me give you some examples of this Almost lie, and what it looks like:
You almost have your miracle, just keep persevering.
You almost conquered your sin, just try harder.
God is almost pleased, just keep at it.

Now all three of these may sound right, they may even seem encouraging… I mean, what’s wrong with telling someone to keep on trying, right? Well to use a colloquialism: The devil is in the details – which in this case is literally true. The lie, is in the “almost” part of it, implying that the things which Christ paid for on the cross have still been left undelivered, or that additional steps are required to attain them. And this lie has kept many people in bondage, some even for their entire lives.

So today, what I want to share with you, is what the scriptures say regarding what you have in Christ Jesus – not sometime later, not after jumping through religious hoops, but right now, this very moment.

How Jesus Makes You Free

One famous statement made by Jesus is found in John 8:32, where He says “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Now these words spoken by Jesus have been repeated and re-used for all kinds of things. It is quoted in churches all across the world, but what is it really saying? What are we free from? How are we made free?

I have spoken with many people who recite the words that they have been made free, but are still very much bound. I have lived that way myself for many years! It happens because of sheer ignorance a lot of times… So what I want to share with you today, is the truth about the truth… the truth that Jesus spoke of, the truth that will actually make you free – and everything that means. So today, you can say that you are free, and actually know what it is that you are saying. So that you can truly be free, and not just be reciting empty words. You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

Eternal Life, A Relationship With Jesus

When we hear the words “eternal life” many images and ideas come to mind. For most, it conjures a moment in time when one prayed a payer to go to heaven, that is what is generally believed because that is the idea that is most often taught in churches all across the world. They say “if you are unsure of your destination when you die, simply pray this prayer and you can go to heaven.” Simply pray the sinners prayer, or invite Jesus into your heart, are all common Christian lingo, for what amounts to basically nothing more than spiritual fire-insurance.

It’s no surprise then that people see God as distant and impersonal – just a being up in heaven, with no real interest in their day-to-day lives. They don’t know Him, because honestly, they have never been introduced! The finished work of Christ has been reduced to a cold, emotionless contract.

The scriptures however paint a very different view of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus for you; as well as eternal life. In truth they are much more than the way in which they have been presented. And this is what we will be studying today.