When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn’t go off and leave us… He enters into our trouble and saves us.

-Eugene Peterson

          

Things aren’t always the way we are told they are.  I was in church this past Sunday and my pastor was going on about the virtue of honesty.  During his message he talked about the most well-known story in terms of honesty possibly in American history.  It’s a story involving the patriot, war hero and president, George Washington.  The story goes that young George was asked by his father about a tree that had been cut down at the family compound and responded: Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down this cherry tree.

Well, the story is a big fat lie—seems the most popular story about honesty is nothing more than a sham.  

Religion isn’t shy about trying to convince us that in order to get control of our sin problem (we are saved you know—and sinning isn’t what we ought to be doing)—all we must do is somehow kill our desires.  It’s no wonder so many of us consider following Jesus more like living in a torture chamber than we do a daily celebration.  

 21-22 If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God’s will for us? Not at all. Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.    (Galatians 3:21-22, The Message Bible)

Just as the law (I’ll add religion) was powerless to save us—so it is unable to give us a lick when it comes to living the Christian life.  All the law can do is point us to Jesus—it can’t empower us to follow him in a million life-times.  We can thank God for the law in that it painfully shows us our utter inadequacy, but we must not then turn around and attempt to live up to it’s standards in hopes that we ever will ever meet it’s demands.  To do so is to undermine the faith we placed in Jesus when we gave up trying to earn God’s favor—as if we ever could have.  Jesus bridged that chasm.

The big fat lie of religion is that is powerful enough to rescue us when all it does is hinder us, and in the end, it sucks the very life out of us when we put any stock in it.  Jesus—the author of liberty—is the only One we need to put our stock in.

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