In conjunction with our fall sermon series (“Transformed by the Cross”), I’m reading an excellent book by Mark Driscoll entitled, Death by Love: Letters from the Cross. In chapter 4, Driscoll unpacks the essence of “religion.”
1) Religion says that God will not love me until I obey his rules enough to earn his love.
2) Religion says that the world is filled with good people and bad people.
3) Religion is about what you do.
4) Religion is about getting from God.
5) Religion sees hardship as unloving punishment rather than sanctifying discipline.
6) Religion is about you.
7) Religion focuses almost entirely on the external, visible life of a person and overlooks the internal, invisible life of the heart where motives lie. How one appears on the outside before people is far more important to the religious person than how one appears on the inside before God.
8) Because religion is about what we do, the end result is that we lack assurance regarding our standing before God.
9) Religion simply does not work, because it results in either pride or despair depending on if we think we have done well or poorly in earning our salvation through moral conduct and religious devotion.
10) Religion pursues righteousness through self-righteous means.
Living a good religious life is very different from living a life that is empowered by the gospel. Religion has never and will never save anyone, only Jesus does. The gospel is about living in the reality of what Jesus DID, not what we DO.