Matthew 22:11-13 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes … ‘Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”
Christianity and other faiths are prevalent in America. It is not difficult to find people who do not feel good about the way they are following God. It seems like many peoples’ position with God is defining God according to their desires and not God’s desires. In this verse Jesus was speaking to the religious people of His day who appeared religious. They felt good about the way they pursued God, but they were not in congruence with God’s way.
Is that not often the way it is with how we pursue God – we do what we think is satisfactory according to our desires and beliefs? This way of pursuing of God is futile because God is not only the creator of all life, but also the determiner of all life. God from the beginning expressed His desire to have relationship with people. The disconnect occurs when people do not want to metaphorically dress according to God’s standard.
Throughout history God has made known man’s path to Him. Instead of obeying people have re-interpreted God’s way according to their desires and beliefs. I call this religion because it is man determining who God is and what God should do.
Jesus went on to say in Matthew 22:12, “Friend, he asked, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The world is filled today with people playing religion. They practice religion by filtering truth through their needs, habits, and wants and practices.
The line between religion and Christianity is narrow, because two people can look very much the same but differ cataclysmically. The key ingredient that is missing in practicing religion instead of Christianity is the Lordship Paul talked about in Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
People who miss the vital importance of a faith that includes Lordship are missing the fullness of Christ and all God has for them. People playing religion are making themselves co-equal with God by defining who God is, how He is to act, and the rules of His creation. Those practicing religion often do it in great oratory and passion, but without regard to the creator and sustainer of Life.
In Luke 11: 44 Jesus described the results of religion by the way the Pharisees pursued God, "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it." The Pharisees Jesus was talking to would probably shame most Christians today by the fervency of their religious lives. Unfortunately, God saw their religious fervor resembled death more than life.
At the height of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus called out religion because it enslaved instead of freed; it failed to transform; it was manmade instead of Spirit led and produced. In Acts 15:8 Peter said, “God who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us.”
You experience the power of the Christian life by reverse engineering. Our eternal destiny is determined at salvation by faith and Lordship rather than by works. Our power is not in doing, but living in an intimate, passionate relationship with Jesus.
Our transformation is not in our righteous deeds, but in allowing the intimacy of our relationship with God to free the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. Our transformation is consummated in a willing heart that allows God’s transformative power to rebuke, correct, teach, and empower us to become Christlike.
Learn to dive into Jesus each day by hearing His voice and obeying through the power of the Holy Spirit. Never replace God with religion but allow God to consume your life in the passion of your relationship with Him!
John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
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