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Inglesia del Nazareno Communidad de la Esperanza
October 23, 2016 | The Eight Commandments
Dr. Burnie R. Burnside
Idea: All religions aren’t wrong. They are just incomplete. They lead to our need for a Savior.
One of the criticisms of Christianity is that we believe we are right and everybody else is wrong . . . that all other religions are wrong.
The early Christians didn’t think that. We shouldn’t either. Primarily because it’s not true.
The other thing I hear is that all religions essentially teach/believe the same thing. Those paths eventually merge somewhere. Probably after death.
Similarities, yes. Shared values, yes. Similar prohibitions? Yes.
Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus all have versions of the golden rule: treat people the way you want to be treated.
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis lists common teachings from the American Indians, ancient Greece, ancient China, Judaism . . .
The other thing all major religions share is failure. Everybody in every religion eventually falls short.
Every religion that believes in God offers advice on what to do when you mess up.
And that’s where the roads diverge . . . what to do about the missteps, failures, sins— the gaps.
There is a God(s). God has a standard for you to live by. But it’s too hard. Good luck. Never quit! See you on the other side. Maybe. Have a nice day. Leave your offering at the door.
Religions highlight our inability to live up to a divine standard, thus creating a gap. Then came Jesus. Jesus affirmed the list, but went a step further and did what no one else did.
Jesus offered a permanent solution to the “Now that we’ve messed up, what now?” question.
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [A damning sentence as the result of breaking a law. Judicial pronouncement upon a guilty person. Penalty/punishment. He doesn’t say there is no penalty for those who have not broken a law. There is no condemnation for those who have broken the law, but who are in Christ. In Christ, God does not punish you for sin.]
2because through Christ Jesus [not human effort] the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. [The law of sin/death: sin results in death. You’ve seen it.] [Lie to your friend and watch the relationship die.] [Steal from your parents and watch the relationship die.] [Want to kill your marriage? Have an affair.] [Sin results in death: sin killed your relationship with God as well.] [There is a law stronger than sin and death: It is not ‘work your way back.’ If you betray a friend, rebuilding that relationship has more to do with him than you.] [You can work and work and work, but it does not erase your betrayal. The only way back is . . .]
Law of the Spirit–forgiveness/grace. Ever seen forgiveness and grace resurrect a human relationship? Awesome.
Your relationship with God is not resurrected by keeping the list. That does nothing to address your failures.
3For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, [The law is only good at condemning. It is powerless to restore. This is where the ‘work your way to God’ religions falter and leave us with no assurance.] God did—something law could not do by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. He came to us while we were lawbreaking sinners and did what we could not do. He paid the price for our sin. And so he condemned sin in human flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us . . . [We are given the status of non-lawbreaker. Thus, no condemnation.] [Whereas, religion condemns us and at best offers a way to redeem ourselves. Jesus redeems us.] [In him, we are given a right standing with God.]
The unresolved issue in religion is “Where do I stand with God?” Jesus resolved that for us.
My failure to “do” leaves a gap.
Paul’s message: God knew and sent Jesus to fill that gap.
God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. And that is the reason to lose our religion.
The darkest days for Christianity were when the church abandoned grace and opted to become merely a religion.
The list grew and assurance shrank.
Evil men leveraged fear to control.
Wars were fought. Indulgences sold.
You could buy your way in/others out.
If you wonder where you stand with God, you are a candidate for God’s grace. Not worked for, simply received by shifting your trust.
Are all religions wrong? No.
All religions point to three things: We ought to. We don’t. We are at odds with God.
Religion leads us to our need for a Savior. So, God sent his son into a religious world so that we could let go of religion and embrace a Savior.
For what the law was powerless to do, God did by sending his own son to be a sin offering.
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