As a child I experienced my religion as a pain. I absorbed a view of God in which He seemed mean and critical. There’s a reason why Islam has such a view. It comes from religions that are profoundly legalistic. Nevertheless, I stuck with it. Why? I believed it was right and was too afraid not to go along with it.
It’s not so bad to have to make your way out of bad religion into life in the Spirit. We might call this the journey of worker to a son. If we look on it in a positive light it is part of the adventure of life. Maybe it’s not bad at all since this is the creation God birthed us into, so that by walking towards the Light we can enter the realm of the new creation long before the Second Coming. We can take courage in the fact that we do not walk this way alone. The Son of God joined us in the journey and suffered terribly as a result. But all of this so that the original plan would be accomplished: That the trinity would have sons and daughters with which to share their exuberant life.
People can assert that their religion is not legalistic, yet will talk of all that must be done to be legitimate and of ‘Keeping close to Jesus’ which they accomplish by legalisms justified by themselves and their church.
Any thoughtful person might perceive that we are no more adept at ‘keeping close to Jesus’ than the Jews were at keeping the law. As Peter said, ‘Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?’ Acts 15.10 NIV.
Nevertheless there are groups across the Body of Christ who think to improve their godliness by embracing the law and Jewish rites – which only goes to show that many do not comprehend the doctrine of the apostles and do not understand what the cross accomplished for them personally or for us all.
We make ourselves vulnerable to cunningly devised fables if burdened by any element of pride. It insulates us from The Light so that we are unable to see God and His gospel as it is, and who we are as a result.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ Matt 5.8. It makes it harder to know God and ourselves as we are if we are wedded to some version of ourselves.
Blind leaders of the blind exist because there are people who are infatuated with themselves and their own ideas, their sense of importance and their level of intelligence. Yet the bottom line for interpreting the word correctly is not intelligence or education. It’s spiritual discernment, which comes from humility and following Jesus wherever He is leading.
There is a certain merit being right. But there is more merit in being in God. One is the regime of Adam and the other the regime of Jesus.
If one has the boldness to repent of religion and abandon ideas we were marinated in as a child and dive into the river of life in a real baptism that means being swallowed up in the person of Jesus, one can expect to know the doctrines that set us free to be. Free to be not a clone of other religionists or a clone of worldlings but an expression of Jesus and a manifestation of God as a daughter and a son. Baxter Kruger writes,
“The biblical story is driven by the love of the triune God, and in this love by the relationship between God, on the one side and Adam, Israel, and humanity on the other. In this relationship, the Father speaks. He reveals. He gives. Humanity is thereby summoned to hear, to know, and to receive the Father’s love. And in hearing the Father’s voice, in knowing His affirmation and receiving His love, humanity is quickened with an abounding life that it does not possess in itself, nor can it create. This abounding life is then to overflow into our relationships with one another and with the whole creation.”
This abounding life is Christ your life. Kruger, C. Baxter. Across All Worlds: Jesus Inside Our Darkness (Kindle Locations 396-401). Perichoresis, Inc. Kindle Edition.