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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Gospel versus Religion

By Justin Edwards

The difference between saving faith yielded by the Gospel versus self-righteousness yielded by religion (religiosity or churchianity) is, quite frankly, the difference between life and death, the difference between heaven and hell. It is fundamentally imperative to understand that religious acts of good service, deeds, or tradition does not bring a person closer to God, and in fact, when these things are done separate from Jesus Christ, God considers these works filthy rags.

The truth is, there is no one righteous, and the only righteousness we may ever have is that given to us by Jesus. The moment we are born again by the grace of God through faith in His Son, we are immediately justified, washed, and sanctified and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. Our lives are no longer about us, but about Jesus and His will for our lives.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Sadly, there are so many who believe their good works will justify them before God. Going to church, taking sacraments, serving the poor, paying tithes, teaching Sunday school, or reciting vain prayers - these won't save you. They may make you feel better about yourself and your standing with God, they may give you confidence in YOU, but they don't save you. We are justified by faith alone in Christ, and the following chart contrasts the differences between religion and the Gospel (click to zoom).

I challenge you to examine your faith and your motives to see if you are working to justify yourself, or if the work you do is explicitly out of the abundance of joy in your heart, the desire to be conformed to His likeness, to bring glory and honor to the name of Jesus Christ, and to point others to the cross.

For details about the chart and it's source, please visit Peter Cockrell's blog, Already Not Yet.

(HT: Peter Cockrell)

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