Friday, September 5, 2008

Post Theist

I had a brief conversation the other day with a coworker, and in turn, this post will not be brief. Bear with me. The gist of our conversation was that he asked me what church I went to. I told him, and asked if he was anything and he replied that he was Post Theist. I was curious so, at the risk of looking really stupid, I asked what that meant. I could tell he was afraid he was going to offend me with his response. He replied, "I look forward to the day that religion no longer exists." We didn't discuss it more than that and, no, I wasn't offended.

I have to say I agree with my coworker more than he knows. I hate religion. I do not adhere to a particular religion. I go to church every week and if that is your definition of religious then so be it. Jesus Himself did not promote religion. The scribes and Pharisees were the religious people of Jesus' day and take a look at what Jesus had to say to them in Matthew 23. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness...You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness...You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?" Wow! Harsh words. And that is just a small portion of what He had to say about them.

What I have is not religion. What I have is a relationship. I have a personal relationship with Jesus my Saviour. And that relationship is available to anyone regardless of what "religion" they may or may not claim. Religion is not something that is from God. Religion is man's way of trying to reach out to God whether it be through regularly attending church, tithing, doing good deeds, baptism or any number of things. Now, I'm not saying that any of those things are bad. They are all commanded by God, but not as a prerequisite for salvation. The truth of the matter is that Jesus has already done everything that needs to be done in order for us to have a relationship with Him. Through dying on the cross, He became the perfect sacrifice that was needed in order for us to be reconciled to God once again.

Salvation is really so simple but man's religion has clouded and confused it so much that mankind is constantly striving to attain this perfection that is impossible outside of Christ. If you will, it is as simple as ABC:
  1. Admit that you are a sinner; that you have done things in your life that have separated you from the perfection of God. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
  2. Believe that Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice for those sins and that, through His death on the cross and resurrection, He is the only way to salvation. Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."
  3. Confess and repent of your sins to God and accept his free gift of salvation, and as a result, God has promised that you will be saved. Romans 10:9 says "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." And in one of my favorite verses, Ephesians 2:8-9, you see how generous God really is "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

That's it. That is God's way for us to have a relationship with Him. Religion is man's way and will never be enough. No matter how hard you try and to what extent your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you can never do enough. Religion says "Do this and do that", God says "It is already done." His Son was His gift to you; He doesn't expect you to work for it or else it wouldn't be considered a gift. God asks you to come to Him as you are. He doesn't say, "Get your life straight and then come to Me." God is the One who will make the necessary changes in your life, all He wants is you; all of you, flaws included. It is in those flaws that He is able to make His power known.

It is up to you; it is your own personal choice. No one can make this decision for you; not your church, your parents, your pastor, your bishop, etc. It is between God and you. God is reaching out to you through His Son, not through religion. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." What is your choice? Are you going to open the door?

For those of you who have stuck with me to the end of this post, thank you. I know it was long. If you ever have any questions about what I have written please talk to me, send a comment, email, phone call, whatever. I have no problem discussing any of this with you, even if it's been years since we've seen one another. And to my coworker who brought on this post, I too "look forward to the day that religion no longer exists" and all that exists is Jesus.

8 comments:

Meagan said...

Food for thought!! i definitely enjoyed what you have to say and will be pondering it for a while.

Erin Trimble said...

I cannot tell you how much your most recent post means to me, Christa. I have been struggling a tremendous amount lately with "religion", and I would be willing to share why with you at a later and more convenient time, but I just want you to know how much of a blessing you really are to me.

I am so thankful that you are my friend, and each time I talk with you, or read your blog, I find out so much more about you and just how alike we really are!

Loves to you! Erin

Chris and Shelby Bond said...

I must say Christa, that you are amazing. You have always had such a wonderful perspective on things. Thanks for posting this, I needed this. Again, your amazing. -Shelby

Stacey said...

You go girl..... So many people think to have Jesus you have to be religious! I am with you, Jesus is all we need. HE did it all. Not Religion!!!
Thanks Christa,
Love to you,
Stacey

Sara and Family said...

I appreciate your thoughts, I think it can be hard to speak our minds when it comes to spiritual topics sometimes. But you're right that a relationship with our Savior, guided by religion or not, is a personal and special thing!

Jill said...

Christa--

Your post made me cry. I have read and re-read it and it still gets to me each time.

You are such an amazing example and your testimony is never shaken and I applaud you for that.

Thank you for saying that I have yet the courage to say to others.

The Barratt Fam said...

hmmm you got me thinkin! How r u? Love ya

john said...

Just wanted to drop a note of thanks. Your Blog is most interesting and was helpful.