The Serpent of Religion ??

"Nothing gives one a more spuriously good conscience than keeping rules, even if there has been a total absence of all real charity and faith." **** C.S. Lewis

Christianity is NOT a religion; it is the proclamation of the end of religion. Religion is a human activity dedicated to the job of reconciling God to humanity and humanity to itself. The Gospel, however – the Good News of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the astonishing announcement that God has done the whole work of reconciliation without a scrap of human assistance. It is the bizarre proclamation that religion is over – period. -- Robert F. Capon

Christians have always tended to transform the Christian Revelation into a Christian religion. Christianity is said to be a religion like any other or, conversely, some Christians try to show that it is a better religion than the others. People attempt to take possession of God. Theology claims to explain everything, including the being of God. People tend to transform Christianity into a religion because the Christian faith obviously places people in an extremely uncomfortable position ­- that of freedom guided only by love - and all in the context of God's radical demand that we be holy. ---- Jacques Ellul

Karl Marx is credited with saying, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." Whatever HIS frame of reference may have been, it is a true statement, for not only does religion isolate one from the world, it also isolates one from God Himself. What is the need to search for the TRUE, the Living God, when one has already found their "god" -- the image of themselves wrapped in the disguise of religion !!

At the beginning there are a number of points that should be clarified:

  • This IS NOT a general, exhaustive treatise on "religion"
  • It IS NOT intended to explore the origins or meaning of "religion"
  • I am MOST definitely NOT defending "religion"
  • It IS NOT a treatise on "Christianity"
  • It IS written by one (myself) who accepts, without reserve, the God revealed in the OLD Testament of the Jews and in the New Testament of the followers of Jesus Christ

However, since I DO feel that one should have at least a vague understanding of the words and topic being discussed, I offer this cursory definition of the word "religion" found by doing a "Google search":

A Starting Place -- Problems with definitions

Should the definition simply refer to those who feel that they are in a particular relationship to God (however defined) with an obligation to fulfill divinely revealed law? For example, Judaism is always listed as a "religion," but what about Humanistic Judaism, which focuses on persons and humanity without reference to a deity? In addition, many Secular Humanists tend to eschew the term "religion" because, in its popular interpretation, it carries with it overtones of a supernaturalism that they reject.

What does the word "religion" mean, and what is religion and what is nonreligion?

The English word "religion" is derived from the Middle English "religioun" which came from the Old French "religion." It may have been originally derived from the Latin word "religo" which means "good faith," "ritual," and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin "religre" which means "to tie fast."

The root of the word "religion" may also be traced to the Latin religare (re: back, and ligare: to bind), so that the term is associated with "being bound." The idea may reflect a concept prominent in biblical literature. Israel was said to be in a "covenant" (berith) relationship with its God (Yahweh). In a sense, the nation was "covenanted" or "bonded" to the deity.

One might argue that the religious person is one "bound" by choice or by commitment to the tenets of a particular faith system. Once again, the parameters of this definition can be broadened to include any commitment to a particular way of life. Such an expansion would embrace concepts like "philosophy" or "psychology" or even any chosen way of living. One's religion then becomes "how one lives one's life" or "how one lives in the light of a particular commitment" or, in popular vernacular, one's "life style." Obviously, while the term "commitment" may provide some insight into the concept of "being bound," it is far too inclusive to be acceptable.

Defining the word "religion" is fraught with difficulty. Many attempts have been made. Most seem to focus on too narrowly only a few aspects of religion; they tend to exclude those religions that do not fit well. As Kile Jones wrote in his essay on defining religion:

"It is apparent that religion can be seen as a theological, philosophical, anthropological, sociological, and psychological phenomenon of human kind. To limit religion to only one of these categories is to miss its multifaceted nature and lose out on the complete definition."

All of the definitions that we have encountered contain at least one deficiency

  • Some exclude beliefs and practices that many people passionately defend as religious. For example, their definition might include belief in a God or Goddess or combination of Gods and Goddesses who are responsible for the creation of the universe and for its continuing operation. This excludes such non-theistic religions as Buddhism and many forms of religious Satanism which have no such belief.
  • Some definitions equate "religion" with "Christianity," and thus define two out of every three humans in the world as non-religious.
  • Some definitions are so broadly written that they include beliefs and areas of study that most people do not regard as religious. For example, David Edward's definition would seem to include cosmology and ecology within his definition of religion -- fields of investigation that most people regard to be a scientific studies and non-religious in nature.
  • Some define "religion" in terms of "the sacred" and/or "the spiritual," and thus require the creation of two more definitions.
  • Some people do not consider their personal spiritual path to be a religion. Many conservative Christians refer to Christianity not as a religion but as an intensely personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Many Native Americans believe that their spiritual beliefs and practices are not a religion in the normal sense of the term. They form a integral and seamless part of their very being, totally integrated into their life experience.
  • Agnostics and Atheists often do not regard their beliefs to be a religion. To most, Atheism and Agnosticism simply represent a single belief about the existence or nonexistence of a supreme being. They do not necessarily include ethical matters.
  • The New Age is sometimes referred to as a religion. However, it is in reality a collection of diverse beliefs and practices from which a practitioner may select those that appeal to her/him. The individual often grafts these beliefs and practices onto an established religion.

Our compromise definition:

This website [ ] uses a very broad definition of religion:

"Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview."

(A worldview is a set of basic, foundational beliefs concerning deity, humanity and the rest of the universe.) Thus we would consider Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Native American Spirituality, Wicca, and other Neopagan traditions to be religions. We also include Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism, Ethical Culture etc. as religions, because they also contain a "belief about deity." Their belief is that they do not know whether a deity exists, or they have no knowledge of God, or they sincerely believe that God does not exist.

As I have already stated what the purpose of this article IS NOT, let me here state what IT IS:

Based upon the above definition of "religion" ("religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview"), I intend to show that "religion" is the very antithesis of what Jesus Christ was incarnated into this world to bring or reveal about His (our) Father, Himself, and His life (or world). The Apostle Paul states that it is "paramount to the bringing of a "different (alien) gospel'". Jesus did most assuredly NOT come to bring mankind one more "religion". The world was then (and is even more so now) cluttered with and choked upon "religion". He came rather "to set us free from the bondage of men's rules, dogmas, doctrines and laws."

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (Jesus), because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." **** Luke 4:18,19

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry."

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them. But woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven! For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in. Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of Gehenna as yourselves!" **** Matthew 11:28-30;23:1-15

It is interesting to note the warped, "religious" caricature of Jesus Christ that the "church" has passed down as its legacy of Him versus that picture which is revealed in the scripture (Bible).

Church walls are hung with sickening images of a Jesus who looks more like an anemic, blond haired young woman than the robust, Jewish carpenter and savior of mankind who walked miles over hot, rugged countryside and lived for weeks on end in the open air.

Volumes are written about the "meek and mild Jesus", about the "bleeding heart of Jesus", about the "all suffering one" who never raised voice nor hand against anyone, and about the "good natured Santa Claus Jesus" dispersing good gifts to all with nary a word of correction or reproof. We hear preached (in His name) the message of "unity for all", of worldwide ecumenical accord, of God's supposed plan for all of mankind to live under one banner of love and togetherness -- all raising their voices in unison to tear rendering strains of "Cum bay ah".

Fortunately (UNfortunately for those addicted to religious fairy tales), this is most emphatically NOT the historical Jesus of the bible. It is rather the travesty of 2,000 years of "religious fairy tales", fables and, superstition. It is what the "church" has delivered after two millennia of corruption at the hand of mankind and the "god of this present world system".

Indeed Jesus was and IS the incarnation of God's Love --- rich in grace, mercy, forgiveness and long-suffering. The problem is, however, as God says in the OT, "My ways ARE NOT your ways". Our problem is that we continually strive to worship an idol carved by our own hands, fashioned from our own imaginations, of a "god" who is merely a slightly improved version of ourselves rather than to get to know the One who is truly alien to ALL that we know and are !!

It is interesting to note mankind's propensity to take the Gifts of God and turn them into idols. The bronze serpent that God gave to the Israelites for THEIR healing, they later turned into an idol. Another who hung on a pole for OUR healing, we have today also turned into a detestable idol !!

The Lord said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live"" So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze serpent he lived. **** Numbers 21:8,9

He (Hezekiah) did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. **** 2 Kings 18:3,4

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" **** John 3:14,15

When the Apostle Peter attempted to prevent his beloved Jesus from dying on the cross because HE (Peter) would miss Him, Jesus rebuked him.

From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem .... and be killed So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: "God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!" But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but on man's." **** Matthew 16,21-23

In REAL life, Jesus became frustrated over the oft-times denseness and lack of faith of His disciples (Matthew 14:28-31, Luke 9:38-41). He uttered some seemingly VERY unkind things to people (Matthew 7:6, Matthew 23, Mark 7:25-29). Click [ HERE ] to read. He took a whip to the moneychangers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19, John 2:14-16). When He forgave various people of their sins and transgressions, He also added that with this forgiveness came a need TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES (Matthew 18:8-9, John 5:8-14, John 8:3-11) !! Click [ HERE ] to read.

To me, one of the saddest and most touching passages in the NT is where Jesus weeps for His people after He realizes that they WILL NOT hear or come to Him:

"For this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in the law, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, this generation will be held responsible for all these things! O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'" **** Matthew 23:34-39

God most certainly DOES envision a TOTALLY unified universe, filled with the unity of one people (son's of God), speaking with one voice -- but this will be AFTER the sin, selfishness and rebellion within man's heart has been removed. In the mean time, rather than promising earthly unity, He tells us:

"Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven -- only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!' "

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. "Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it." **** Matthew 7:13-23;10:28-39

Jesus made it VERY clear that He considered following Him to be a wholehearted experience. He wanted those who would give Him their ALL, would hold nothing back or put nothing before Him. He was (is) calling those who will follow Him no matter WHAT the cost might be !! He certainly made it very clear that His call was not going to be a, "What's in it for ME??" experience.

As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus said to him, "Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Jesus said to another, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. In the same way, therefore, not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions. Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored? It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!"**** Luke 9:57-62;14:25-35

People today - ESPECIALLY the younger generation - are OBSESSED with the idea that life OWES them a living. They believe that someone or something - be it Life, Society, their Family, the Government or "god" (in some form) is responsible to take care of and provide for them (often without ANY contribution or effort on THEIR part) merely by virtue of the fact that they exist, occupy space and consume resources on this planet !!

Even among so-called "Christians", if they should suffer loss, misfortune or mishap - or if some event or aspect of life "fails" them or doesn't turn out as they believe (expect) that it should - are right there rejecting, reviling, renouncing or cursing God because (in THEIR mind) He failed them or let them down !! How many 'Christians" do you know personally, or have heard of, who have rejected or deserted God due to an unexpected disappointment, downturn, or tragedy in their life ??

Worse yet - many believe that "serving" God is like putting money into a retirement fund or bank account for a rainy day. They feel that, by so doing, they have put God Himself under obligation to THEM, and that He now "OWES THEM" when they feel that the time has come to collect. Like the group in the paragraph above, they too are outraged when He "fails to pay-up" !!

Yet, if these same people would have read their Bibles CAREFULLY and PRAYERFULLY - and encountered the "REAL Jesus" there (and NOT the one of popular superstition and religion) - they would have discovered THESE words:

Would any one of you say to your slave who comes in from the field after plowing or shepherding sheep, "Come at once and sit down for a meal?" Won't the master instead say to him, "Get my dinner ready, and make yourself ready to serve me while I eat and drink. Then you may eat and drink?" He won't thank the slave because he did what he was told, will he? So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, "We are slaves undeserving of special praise; we have only done what was our duty." **** Luke 17:7-10

Here are some additional words and teachings from the "Real Jesus". They are NOT ones that are too often preached or spoken of:

Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces. **** Matthew 7:6

Now, whatever SPECIFIC interpretation you might like to attach to this verse, one thing is certain -- since neither "dogs" nor "pigs", as LITERAL animals, would be concerned with the Gospel, it needs follow that Jesus was using these terms in reference to certain types or groups of people !!

The term "dogs" is used in other scripture verses as reference to either those outside the scope of Jesus' ministry:

A Canaanite woman from that area came and cried out, "My daughter is horribly demon-possessed". Jesus answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs". **** Matthew 15:22-26

or else to reference those of EXTREMELY negative moral values: (Deut 23:18, Phil 3:2 and Rev 22:15). Click [ HERE ] to read.

The term "pearl(s)" is used to refer to the "Kingdom of Heaven".

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it. **** Matthew 13:45,46

At its MINIMUM, verse 7:6 seems to be saying - CONTRARY to prevailing "Evangelical Christian" philosophy - NOT to ram the Gospel down the throat of EVERY person that you meet on EVERY circumstance or situation - regardless of whether the Holy Spirit has prepared that person to be receptive or not. Otherwise, they might, "turn around and tear you to pieces" !!

How many, claiming to applaud the "teachings of Jesus", would want to be held accountable for the FULL "Letter and Intent" of these words ??

You have heard that it was said to an older generation, "Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subjected to judgment." But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery." But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna. It was said, "Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document." But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman (or man) commits adultery. You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don't they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don't they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. **** Matthew 5:21-48

I could continue, but this should be MORE than enough to represent that the REAL Jesus bears VERY little resemblance to the everyday caricature, any more than the message that He came to bring bears to that "religion" which today bears His name !!

When I say that Jesus came to do away with "religion", I mean ALL religion. Bear in mind that it was "religion" that crucified the Son of God as it was the "keepers of religion" that hated Him most. It is likewise "religion" that crucifies Him DAILY in our own, individual lives !!

There is NO difference between praying five times a day facing toward Mecca or Jerusalem than there is to mumbling some repetitive words over your Rosary or reciting the "Lords Prayer" in your "prayer closet".

The wailing of the Jew at his "wailing wall", the "holy-holies and "hallelujahs" of the Christian, and the drum pounding, frenzied yelling and tribal dancing of the American Indians are ALL equally deficient toward communicating with the ONE God.

The law-keeping of the "christian", of the Jew, of the Muslin, or of the pagan are ALL the same in the eyes of God, and are ALL as useless in pleasing and approaching Him.

Likewise are their tithes, alms and "good works" equally useless as instruments or "bribes" aimed at reconciliation between man and God. They will no more make one "holy" before the One God than will the animal and human sacrifices of the ancient and modern heathen and pagan cultures.

Darby has no greater standing before God because of his bible translation than does Darwin with his "Book of Species".

I want to state at this point as LOUDLY and emphatically as I can --- Jesus Christ DID NOT come to introduce a new "religion". He DID NOT come to enable men to better adhere to and follow some old one. He DID NOT come to "show men the way to live" or how they might make themselves "better people". Most emphatically, He DID NOT come to reintroduce us to the "10 Commandments" or some other system of law and legality.

NO -- a thousand times NO -- His mission was nothing less than to usher into existence a "New Humanity", once and for all set free from all EXTERNAL means of approach to the One God. He came to restore to humanity ALL that was lost to it by Adam, and MUCH MORE !! He came to bring about a conjuncture of the "Kingdom of Earth" and the "Kingdom of Heaven". He came to reveal and open to men the world of Himself and His Father -- to bring Heaven to Earth (YOUR will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven).

He came NOT to abolish the law (leaving men lawless), but rather to FULFILL the Law -- to do that which men never were, never would be, and were never expected to do. He would set the Law written on stone tablets (or on paper) aside by completing it HIMSELF and replace it with a NEW law, written NOT on external media, but rather on the very heart, mind, soul and spirit of man !!!! It would be the Law of Divine Love, that which constitutes and governs the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus said again and again that it was NOT the actions of men that made them good or bad, but it was rather the intent and desire of their heart. It was NOT the outward man that counted and would prevail, but rather, THE INNER !! Outward rules, laws, doctrines and dogmas would never change men and society, ONLY a change in the "Inner Man" would do that -- a writing of God's Law upon their heart by His Spirit.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place." **** Matthew 5:17,18

Jesus replied, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see (enter into) the kingdom of God. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must all be born from above.' The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit". Nicodemus replied, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you don't understand these things? I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I have told you people about earthly things and you don't believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him." **** John 3:3-17

Jesus came to reopen this doorway, which since the fall of Adam had been sealed shut. He poured out His empowering, NEW-life giving Spirit, first upon His disciples after His crucifixion (John 20), and then enmass at Pentecost (Acts 2). He later imparted the FULL revelation, understanding, and expounding of this truth to Saul of Tarsus, to become the Apostle Paul.

After he (Jesus) said this, he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." **** John 20:22

Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them. **** Acts 2:1-4

According to the Apostle Paul, it is NOT ANY form of ritual and/or law-keeping that is of value, but SOLELY a "new heart" -- a "new man" !! ALL human works and endeavors to please God and reconcile to Him are but "animal refuse" in His sight !! All religion -- ALL endeavors of "good works" -- ALL keeping of systems of doctrine, rituals and laws -- ALL establishments or anti-establishments -- ALL sacrifice or indulgence -- ALL done BY man for and/or in the name of god -- from whatever branch it may spring forth or by whatever name it may to be known -- ALL has as its tap root the embodiment of the serpent that deceived man in the garden with the lie, "You can BE and DO apart or separate from God" !!

From the Fall of Adam onward, God had subjected mankind to different and various means of restraint, none of which ultimately forestalled his continued degeneration and downward spiral. At Mount Sinai, He gave to mankind through Moses a codified law which would serve three purposes: First, it would allow man to see (IF he would look) that he was INCAPABLE of keeping God's Law -- second, it would help to restrain man's lawless somewhat -- and third, it would help prepare a people among whom God would one day appear. THIS was the purpose of THE LAW (any law). It was never meant by God to be permanent, nor could it remedy man's separated condition from God, nor could it EVER make man capable of living in God's naked presence !!

On the one hand a former command is set aside because it is weak and useless (by virtue of the corrupted nature of man), for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship. For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. **** Hebrews 7:18,19;10:1-4-

Paul, during the years of his ministry, even then encountered the disease that today has spread like cancer through the "Church of Jesus Christ". He basically wrote the whole book of Galatians to refute those who were attempting to pollute the church that had been founded there with the cancerous concept that Faith in Jesus Christ was necessary, but it WAS NOT ENOUGH !! Something more had to be added -- something of MAN'S labor, his effort, his contribution. In Paul's day it was the Judizers with the ritual of circumcision. The point that I want to labor here is this, "It counts for nothing WHAT the act of law that is added is -- the RESULT is the same". As Paul so passionately pled with those among whom he labored so long and loved so much, "You CAN NOT mix Law and Grace". They are like oil and water. You either live by one or the other. To embrace ANY ritual or act of law-keeping is to fall away from the Gospel of Grace. As Paul states elsewhere, it is paramount to accepting, "Another Gospel" !!!!

"You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort? Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard? Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith. But the law is not based on faith, but the one who does the works of the law will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the descendant to whom the promise had been made. Is the law therefore opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. Now before faith came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners until the coming faith would be revealed. Thus the law had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. But he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. So also we, when we were minors, were enslaved under the basic forces of the world. But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls 'Abba! Father!' So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God. Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless basic forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? You are observing religious days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. **** Galatians 3:1-28;4:1-11

Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him (Jesus) all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. In Him you also were circumcised -- not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ. Having been buried with Him in baptism, you also have been raised with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead. And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with Him, having forgiven all your transgressions. He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days– these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind. He has not held fast to the head from whom the whole body, supported and knit together through its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God. If you have died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world, why do you submit to them as though you lived in the world? "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!" These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility achieved by an unsparing treatment of the body, a wisdom with no true value, they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. **** Colossians 2:8-23

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creation of God is good and no food is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer. **** 1 Timothy 4:1-5

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight -- the only thing that matters is faith working through love. You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from the one who calls you! A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! I am confident in the Lord that you will accept no other view. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. Now, brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those agitators would go so far as to castrate themselves! **** Galatians 5:1-12

To investigate further into the nature of this "New Life in Christ" that we have been given, as well as to follow me on my journey to better and more fully understand and appropriate it, refer to the following links:

It is for FREEDOM that Christ has Set Us Free!!

"The Tabernacle of David"

"The Love of God in Jesus Christ"

"The Mystics Corner", featuring selections
by William Law and Jacob Boehme

"SIN and the Glory of God"

"Worship in Spirit and in Truth"

TLC Institute for Spiritual Freedom

Jim Durkin - Gospel Outreach - Learn
about the "Purpose and Vision" of God !!

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