In order for one to call himself out of religion, and especially the heritage of religion that was handed to him by his forefathers, there must be a restoration. But in order to generate a paradigm shift in a restoration from religion to gospel, a very important decision must be made. This decision involves the “what” and “who” unto which one must be called for direction in his move.
A. Tethered to God through His Son:
One must make a decision to untether himself from the bondage of heritage authority in order to be tethered to God through Christ. This means that the gospel is the means by which we approach God. There can never be two tethers in our relationship with God. One cannot be tethered to the religion of one’s past, and at the same time, seek to be tethered to God through the gospel of His Son. It must be one or the other. Christ can have no competition in a restorational paradigm shift.
In their preaching of the gospel, this was the choice the early disciples presented to the Jews who were in the first century in the bondage of the Jews’ religion (Gl 1:13). It took Saul the persecutor some time to make the choice to be Paul the apostle, but he eventually made his way out of religion and into Christ. And of those things he counted sacred in the Jews’ religion, he wrote,
“I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things. I count them refuse so that I may gain Christ” (Ph 3:8).
One can be, therefore, tethered only to Jesus. “For there is only one God and one mediator [tether] between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tm 2:5). There is only one Lord (Ep 4:5). Peter was very specific about this matter: “There is salvation in no other [than Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (At 4:12). It is only through Jesus that one can be tethered to God. This leaves religion outside the realm of establishing a relationship (covenant) with God. Salvation is not through meritorious religiosity, but through Christ alone.
Unfortunately, throughout history there have arisen numerous misguided efforts on the part of sincere people to establish a relationship with God, which relationship has been obscured by the influences of their religion. In their desire to establish a gospel relationship with God, some have been diverted in the wrong direction by religion. After a few decades, they ended up back where they started. They left sectarian religiosity in order to establish a direct relationship with God, but because they based their paradigm shift on the foundation of their forefathers’ religion, they missed their desired destination. They circled around and ended up being that from which they fled. They left sectarian religion, but constructed a sectarian movement that inherently produced different sects within the movement. Restorations in religion are only disguised reformation movements. And reformation movements always lead to the birth of more religious sects.
[Next in series: January 13]