No Religion

The renowned British minister Dick Lucas once preached a sermon in which he recounted an imaginary conversation between an early Christian and her neighbor in Rome.

“Ah,” the neighbor says.  “I hear you are religious  Great!  Religion is a good thing.  Where is your temple or holy place?”

“We don’t have a temple,” replies the Christian.  “Jesus is our temple.”

“No temple?  But where do your priests work and do their rituals?”

“We don’t have priests to mediate the presence of God,” replies the Christian.  “Jesus is our priest.”

“No priests?  But where do you offer your sacrifices to acquire the favor of your God?”

“We don’t need a sacrifice,” replies the Christian.  “Jesus is our sacrifice.”

“What kind of religion is this?” sputters the pagan neighbor.

And the answer is, it’s no kind of religion at all.

Performance vs. Grace
“…Most people in the world believe that if there is a God, you relate to God  by being good.  Most religions are based on that principle, though there are a million different variations on it.  Some religions are what you might call nationalistic:  You connect to God, they say, by coming into our people group and taking on the markers of society membership.  Other religions are spiritualistic:  You reach God by working your way through certain transformations of consciousness.  Yet other religions are legalistic: There’s a code of conduct, and if you follow it, God will look upon you with favor.  But they all have the same logic:  If I perform, if I obey, I’m accepted.  The gospel of Jesus is not only different from that but diametrically opposed to it:  I’m fully accepted in Jesus Christ, and therefore I obey.”
Excerpts from “The King’s Cross” by Tim Keller. 

Art by Ruth Palmer

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One Comment

  1. We humans understand performance. We’re wired for it. Tell us what to do, and by golly, we’ll do it. So for a religion to tell me I don’t have to do anything to get right with God, but believe what he’s done to solve my greatest need, is well, scandalous.

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