Luther, in speaking of the good by itself and the good for its expediency alone, instances the observance of the Christian day of rest—a day of repose from manual labour, and of activity in spiritual labour—a day of joy and cooperation in the work of Christ’s creation. ‘Keep it holy’, says he, ‘for its use’s sake—both to body and soul! But if anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake—if anywhere anyone sets up its observance upon a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it—to do anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty.’…

-Samuel Tayler Coleridge (1772-1834), Table Talk

 

The enemies of freedom are many—but I’d have to say that religion is it’s fiercest.  If that surprises you it shouldn’t.  

Religion has never been about the love of God but about the works of man.  Nothing has changed since the inception of man’s oldest institution.  More is done in the name of religion to keep people down and hold them back from actually following Jesus than any other single thing.   For a people who should be as free as anyone—us Jesus-followers—we sure can be a pretty bound up and tightly wound people.  It’s one thing for our younger brothers and sisters in the faith to be all hung up on keeping a list of rules that they feel they must follow to please God—but it’s altogether for us who ought to know better by now.  Shouldn’t we be following a person instead of a set of steps to spiritual success after all?   Doesn’t any measure of spiritual success for the Christian come down to following Jesus?

Jesus has written his law of love on our hearts if we know him at all—we can toss aside our note-pads.

It’s a bit disheartening to read about all the rules we should be keeping when Jesus said nothing of the sort.  He summed up the new law of love in a single sentence.  We, on the other hand—have volumes and volumes about the traditions and religious dogmas of man.

 Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.   (Galatians 2:21, The Message Bible)

Is it time for you to stick a fork in religion and get back to pursuing your relationship with Jesus?

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