Why we really do need freedom from religion

sign_0919_jcwI’m in a state in the U.S. that headquarters the Freedom from Religion Foundation. We both agree on needing freedom from religion, but for different reasons.

The origin of the word “religion” is instructive. It comes from two Latin words (re-ligare) which means to bind again, or as Dr. Andrew Farley points out in his book, “God without Religion,” a return to bondage.

Jesus told His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod (Mk.8:13). This is the religious spirit and political spirit. Both are driven by fear and seek to divide.

This religious spirit is what motivated the “foolish Galatian” church (Gal.3:1). Paul told them to receive the freedom that Christ paid for and not be entangled again in this particular yoke of bondage (Gal.5:1).

A religious spirit binds people through fear. Fear of the world and anyone who doesn’t believe like them. Instead of living by the Holy Spirit it wants you to live by rules. But wanting to live by rules instead of the indwelling Spirit is like erecting a fence. So the Spirit of grace is not informing them how to live a godly life (Ti.2:11-13), behavior modification and sin-management is.

Now, at one time, God did have to erect a fence. Why? Because He could not live in mere humans before Christ came. Mankind had become orphaned from God by choosing to live apart from Him. So He had to insert a fence called the Law (Gal.3:19). And this fence was lethal! You go over it, you die. But Jesus, through His perfect sacrifice,  obliterated the fence so that God could inform us from within instead of by rules from without. But like the foolish Galatians, it seems we didn’t get that memo. The Old Covenant of rules just feels more comfortable. And it’s easier to control others this way so we make up our own fences. We’ve been at this in the Church since the first century.

Today, in our religious Christian world, it’s a fence of separation based on what is accepted behavior and what isn’t. But unlike with the Mosaic Law, this fence is somewhat subjective, depending on what kind of church you go to and their particular cultural tolerations. But nonetheless, when you cross this fence, the rest of us seem to think we have the right to stone you. Not real stones, mind you, but words of judgment, disapproval, and condemnation. And as Paul found with the Law, when you’re living by this fence you cannot live by the Holy Spirit. Because when you’re looking to the one, you’re not looking to the other. They are mutually exclusive.

This fence can also separate when your interpretation of Scripture is different than what you’ve been taught to believe. As I said in my last post, a religious spirit attaches itself to an orphan heart. An orphan heart is one separated from an experiential knowledge of the Father’s love, not knowing a life in His embrace. The differences in interpretation threatens their security, which is based on information rather than revelation. And whatever you have been talked into, you can be talked out of. So any dissenting doctrinal view is a threat to their insecure version of security, so they must separate themselves from you to be “safe.”

That’s the way a religious orphan thinks. Their whole view is one of separation because they don’t understand being part of the Father’s family in heaven and on the earth (Eph.3:14-15). Perhaps they feel separated from the Father because they’re waiting to connect with Him in heaven when they die. But this means they must feel separated from you because we can only be one in Him. In fact, they separate themselves from everyone who doesn’t think like them out of fear.

So what do we do? As Jack Frost points out in his book, “Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship“, you cannot cast out an orphan heart. It must be displaced, and the only way you can do that is to introduce the orphan to a loving Father.

Jesus didn’t come to make us religious; He came to make us His.

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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One Response to Why we really do need freedom from religion

  1. Pingback: The Fence | In My Father's House

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