How is a child of Christ different than a religious Christian?
There are a lot of people that warm the seats of church pews all over the world every Sunday. Some of them are there to join with other brothers and sisters to participate in the functioning of the body of Christ. Many are there for other reasons. I would like to point out a few of the differences between the two groups.
Child of Christ Religious Christian
All of my problems are in Christ's If I go to church and pay my tithe
hands and I trust Him to do His will God will make good things happen to
no matter what it is, I will rejoice me.
If things go badly, I know my faith If things go badly, I must be a bad
is being tested and I will trust Him Christain or God must hate me.
no matter what the outcome is.
God is in control; I seek His will I have plans and I have dreams and
in all my decisions. I trust Him God needs to get with the program
with my future, my relationships, my and support what I want to do with
money and my health. I hear His my life.
voice and I am not afraid to follow
His lead even when it seems like a
God has forgiven me for everything. No one, not even God can forgive me
I receive his love and forgiveness for the evil in my life. In fact, I
and I forgive myself. I am in love am not in love with Him because my
with God because I can now receive behaviour is bad and I am sure He is
the incredible love He has for me. not in love with me.
I go to church to serve my brothers I go to church to be "fed." I hope
and sisters by using the gifts He there is a good surmon so I will feel
has given me. I listen to His voice spiritual. I hope he doesn't make me
and operate out of that. I also feel too guilty, but I know that God
encourage my brothers and sisters will give me credit for being there
to operate in their giftings as well and will keep me from harm.
Christ loves all people and does God hates fags, thieves and druggies.
not wish for any to be lost. He did I have no use for them either and
not come to judge but to save. So I would rather not be near them. I
I will not judge either - no matter think anyone who loves these people
how ickey someone's life might is certainly not a godly person.
seem to me.
I long for God's word and when I I find that there just isn't time for
read it or hear it, it awakens God's word in my life. I am too busy
something in my Spirit that makes pursuing my agenda and living the
me want to do something for Him. life I am entitled to.
I know that God is eager to hear If I pray, I will get points with
my prayers and I know he loves me God, especially on those occasions
as His own child. when I am not just asking Him for
something I want.
I know God's plan for me is eternal If God is not going to make my life
and that it is not His ultimate more comfortable, what am I wasting
goal for me to live a comfortable my time in church for? I blame God
pain free life. I trust Him and for bad things that happen to me
accept that He loves me and is because He could stop them. I would
trustworthy even when the sin in certainly not follow Him willingly
this world causes me suffering. to any kind of loss.
My faith is sound even if He allows
loss of property, loss of health or
even an untimely death.
Stuff is just stuff and if my stuff If I am prosperous, it proves that
can help keep someone else warm or God is blessing me and I am "doing
fed, I can certainly part with my it right." The Bible says "if you
stuff. The really important thing is don't work, you don't eat" ... so
Christ and loving others. People are get to work! - Doesn't it also say
important, not stuff. "God helps those who help
I will, with God's help forgive and What goes around comes around and
be merciful to everyone, even those if I can help it come around sooner
that spitefully use me. It may not and harder, I will. I have relatives
be easy but God can love them I will never forgive for what they
through me and I will forgive them. did to me.
I know that God created everyone People that worship differently
unique and special and that they all than I do clearly don't know God.
have beauty and purpose in His plan. All people need to have exactly the
They don't have to do things the way same theology I have or they are
I think they should do them to be OK not one of us.
with God and myself.
I trust God with the people that are Excommunication is the desired
in my life. I don't need to be the method of dealing with heretics.
Holy Spirit in their life and change People that break God's laws need
them. I just need to love them and correction, quickly and harshly.
pray for them.
The trick of course is to not be judgemental of those that are religious Christians and help them to put their faith in Christ.
A Religious Spirit
This discussion is to consider the following; a religious spirit is as common an contagious as the winter flu, that we all get it from time to time, that we need to recognize it in ourselves for what it is and that we need to free ourselves from it as soon as we detect it working in our hearts. Here is an example:
1Sa 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, [that] thou do as occasion serve thee; for God [is] with thee....10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What [is] this [that] is come unto the son of Kish? [Is] Saul also among the prophets?
It is hard to believe that this scripture is talking about Saul - the one who chased David down to kill him and who used sorcery. So what happened that took him from a "new man" to an adversary of God? The events that led to the beginning of his demise were some victories that always followed a burned offering and a word from God. When the Priest who was to do the offering was late, Saul took it upon himself to do the offering.
AV 1Sa 13:9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. .... 11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and [that] thou camest not within the days appointed, and [that] the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
At the heart of a religious spirit is a lack of faith. In this case, Saul separated the act of the offering from the reality of the relationship with God. It did not occur to him that God's timetable was different than his and that he was being asked the question; Do you trust Me Saul? This lack of faith that God would come through created the next act which was to take matters into his own hands and do the sacrifice himself. Now enter pride. I am a king - who would prevent me from doing this? The pride element of the religious spirit causes the host to perceive himself elevated and separated from covenants and relationship. This is the Spirit that took down Saul.
I would like to cite another instance of the religious spirit at work:
AV Mk 14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
Notwithstanding the three years Christ had come against the religious spirit at work in many of the Jewish leaders and the animosity they felt for him because they were challenged, the act of tearing the clothes and instant judgement without any thought passed the reaction to what was heard show a huge spirit of offence. How would any of us or our church leaders act in the face of such bold blasphemy?
So what we have so far - a religious spirit lacks faith, it takes care of business on its own, it is not repentant, and it takes up offence when challenged. Without going into greater detail for the purposes of brevity here, allow me to add that the religious spirit has friends - to that we can add a spirit of pride (Christ spoke about how "they" love the finest seats), the spirit of murder ("they" stoned Stephen and crucified Christ) and a spirit of legalism (Christ talked about them holding to details of the law and forsaking the intent of the law)
Christ taught in his first sermon in AV Mk 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. I grew up thinking that repent means to trade one set of behaviors for another set. In the spirit of justice, I don't want to be the only one inconvenienced by this so I will help all those around me do the same. This, of course, is not it at all: the Greek word METANOETE (repent) literally means Be-after-MINDING. In other words, change your mind. - Change to what?
God's economy revealed: Although Christ's teachings are scattered throughout the gospels, Matthew 5,6 and 7 contain a nice summary of His teachings on how God's values work. The religious spirit is in opposition of all of them as far as I can tell. I believe that the teachings in these three chapters, if actually practiced, would completely change the impact of Christianity on our world. In order for this to happen though, they need to be looked at closely - "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" is not an exchange of performance for a good thing, an incantation for happiness, a formula for success and riches; it is a test. You will know you are in the kingdom if your spirit is PTCHOI - Greek meaning to crouch - as in "beggar." Everything I have and all that I am is by the mercy of God who loves me and in Whom I trust. - Therefore I will be thankful for every breath, every sip, every bite and every comfort of which non of it, I deserve.
So we all get the flu from time to time and we all are infected with the religious spirit from time to time. We take great pride here in our humility. AV 2Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (Reprobates in Greek - ADOKIMOS - means unapproved - rejected) So I read the scripture and put my heart and my motives and my thoughts up against the heart of Christ and see where I lack that I might continue to allow the Holy Spirit to mold me: AV Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen
So the "law" to me is to repent - change my mind to allow the Holy Spirit to work His will in my life - And I do this by following Christ's words which are to be humble, thankful, meek, merciful, forgiving, giving, non-judgmental, prayerful, peaceable, loving, serving. These are the laws of Grace - these are the laws of EKKLESIA - the church - the bride of Christ.
So what about others that sin? (like as if my own sin does not keep me busy) AV 2Tim 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. Meekly instructing so that God will give them a "change of mind" so they can recover themselves. So that is what it means to "lay down the law" - and the instruction is about God's economy where we follow Christ's teachings.