I was hanging out with some guys recently and someone asked what was on my mind. I didn’t know where some of the other guys were at. I didn’t know if some of them even knew Jesus or where their walk was with him. I was surprised by what came out of my mouth. I told them, “You guys, I just want you to know the real Jesus.”
I talked about how I hated religion but loved Jesus.
I wish they asked me what I meant by that.
You see, religion had beat me up pretty bad. Let’s face it, there is a demonic poser going by the Name “Jesus” in a lot of churches. A taskmaster Jesus who doesn’t really love you unless you meet some parameters of performance. Some people’s “Jesus” is actually the AntiChrist (which literally means “in place of Christ”). Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.” Does this Christian truly and sacrificially love? Do I? If not, then are not acting as Christ’s followers, are they? Jesus said, “You will know my followers by their love.”
This really opens up the questions: What does love look like? Can love ever be harsh or mean? How do we speak the truth in love because you can never divorce truth from love? Does it mean I don’t love someone if I fail to speak the truth to someone who is living in sin? Is it love to overlook their choices that hurt themselves and all of society? Do people love me if they never rebuke me? How does someone rebuke another in love? Shun another in love?
I worshiped that antiChrist spirit for years because somewhere along the way, and because of stark terror, fear, and intimidation, I became convinced that this was the only Jesus there was!
My Christian role models reinforced this.
Churches I had belonged to reinforced this.
The antichrist “religion” spirit eventually betrayed me and destroyed me. It drove me to despair and a depression so horrible I would never wish it on my worst enemy. I lost my faith – and this was a good thing. I needed to be done with my faith so I could gain Jesus and his faith.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT (true saving “faith” is “Jesus’ faith”, a gift from God search it out and you will find this to be true!)
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (KJV)
He says: “I will proclaim Your name to My brothers; I will sing Your praises in the congregation.” 13And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And once again: “Here am I, and the children God has given Me.” Hebrews 2:12-13 (He puts His trust into us. It’s his perfect trust that has saved us, not our faltering trust. See more here: http://www.biblelife.org/yourfaith.htm)
His faith won’t let me down. His grace never fails.
His faith says, “As He is, so am I in this world” (1 John 4).
Religion says, “It all depends on you. Your faith. Your trust. Your obedience. religion says, do, do, do, do…” There is a lot of do do in religion.
But then again, doesn’t Jesus say “do” as well? Doesn’t he expect you to obey? Yet the motivation for obedience to Jesus is that you are caught up in the Divine Romance. You obey because you love. You love because he first loved you and Jesus says we are in deep trouble if we have left our first love (Rev 2). Jesus says that if we love him we will do what he commands (John 14-17). We will obey him if we truly love him. We cannot possibly hope to love him without first receiving his love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4)
So when it comes to religion, yes, I have a chip on my shoulder. I hate it because religion is what rejected and murdered God. Religions kills love. Religion killed my soul. Most of our problems among Christians (and most all of my remaining problems) stem from the lingering confusion about the true nature of Jesus (Who is He and what has he accomplished?) and the hellish dangers of religion.
Some are still so apt to follow the confusion and darkness of Jonathan Edwards who penned the most famous and most blasphemous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of Angry God”. The Truth is quite the opposite. The truth is rather, “God, in the Hands of Angry Sinners”.
The truth is plain to see in Scripture:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT
I have a great compassion on those suffering with what I suffered with because I know that they too can, by God’s mercy, find the real Jesus and come to know his love and be liberated from the AntiChrist like I was! Jesus wants to save “Christians” too!
I now rest in the grace of Christ completely independent from my performance. I know I am deeply loved and rest in the peace of Christ’s love. You can too. If you are depressed, consider getting to know Jesus. He can heal you like he healed me… without drugs, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the victory Jesus won over the darkness when religion tortured him and nailed him to some wood.
Everyone knows Jesus is good and religion REALLY sucks. This is why this video has 31 million views:
So… your feedback is appreciated. In what ways do you agree or disagree?
ps. I know it’s been common to use the word “religion” in a negative Christless sense. That is how I am using the word in this blog but please be aware that the Bible uses the word “religion” fondly when speaking of “pure and undefiled religion” which is to care for orphans and widows (practical love) and keep yourself pure from the world. I pray we can all grow into an experience of that!
Here is a message my friend Kyle shared:
Yes, refreshing Daniel. I can relate to craving the pure Gospel of Gods unconditional love. Somehow the darkness of this world distorts that. I can relate to your zeal to remove the burden of a taskmaster. May He continue to fill you with His love and wisdom. Sometimes we turn over a table. Sometimes we turn the other cheek but in everything His love covers a multitude of sins.