10 Differences Between Religion & The Gospel

From chapter 4 of Death by Love: Letters from the Cross by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears:

  1. Religion says that God will not love me until I obey His rules… The gospel says that because God has already loved me and expressed this through the person and work of Jesus on the Cross, I am now free from sin to live a new obedient life by the power of his love given to me as a free gift.”
  2. “Religion says that the world is filled with good people and bad people…” The Bible says the world is filled with “sinners who are either repentant and trust in Jesus’ death for life, or sinners who are unrepentant and remain spiritually dead and separated from God under His wrath.”
  3. “Religion is about what you do… The gospel is about what Jesus has done.”
  4. “Religion is about getting from God… The goal of the gospel is to get God Himself, who is our greatest treasure, highest joy, and source of life…”
  5. “Religion sees hardships as unloving punishment rather than sanctifying discipline.”
  6. “Religion is about you… Instead “because Jesus has lovingly served us, and we love Him, we are to lovingly serve people as Jesus has.”
  7. “Religion focuses almost entirely on the external, visible life of a person and overlooks the internal, invisible life of the heart… The gospel is concerned first with the state of our internal self…First you will be changed on the inside, which will enable you to live a new life on the outside.”
  8. “Because religion is about what we do, the end result is that we lack assurance regarding our standing before God… The gospel tells us that because our standing before God is contingent on Jesus alone, we can know with assurance that we are secure as a redeemed people.”
  9. “Religion simply does not work, because it results in either pride or despair… the gospel alone leads to a humbly confident, joyous obedience because it teaches us that our righteousness is not our own, but rather a gift from Jesus…”
  10. “[The] religious pursuit of self-righteousness is through our own attempts to live by Gods law in addition to our own… on the cross, Jesus gifted His righteousness to us who are unrighteous.”

7 thoughts on “10 Differences Between Religion & The Gospel

  1. “Religion sees hardships as unloving punishment rather than sanctifying discipline.

    Kevin – do you see someone suffering with cancer as “sanctifying discipline?” If you had cancer, would you personally refuse all treatment intended to alleviate the pain so as not to interfere with the “santifying discipline.”

    • Joe,

      I think that suffering with cancer would be sanctifying discipline, not necessarily in the sense of “you did this, now God must discipline you”. But in the sense that God uses hardship to cause us to trust him more, to cause us to commune with him more, to cause us to look forward to the New Heaven and New Earth wherein all such suffering will be gone.

      In that sense, we grow as we go through such a calamity as cancer.

      I don’t see where refusing treatment would be the logical outcome of seeing this as “sanctifying discipline”. The sanctification comes when you trust God to work in the circumstances of treatment, when you trust Him to be with you through the uncertainty of it all, when you treasure Him above all the pain and the suffering so that He is glorified through it, etc.

      For example, Matt Chandler in Dallas, TX is currently going through a very public battle with brain cancer. See his weekly videos to hear him talk about how God is growing him through that trial…

  2. Joe: My mom had cancer when I was 13 years old. She often says that if was the heaviest word she has ever carried in her mind and the moment she heard it left an indelible mark on her soul. She also says that she would not be the woman she is today without that experience. She talks about the fear that she battled in her deepest soul on a daily basis and the closeness and comfort of the Lion of Judah, the champion of praise, that walked her into victory after victory over fear itself. She was launched into her destiny as a teacher through the testimony of her journey through cancer. She has now faced 2 1/2 very scary years. Years that would have been too much for anyone who had not seen the face of God larger than their fear. Yet she has faced this trial in child like faith rather than human endeavor because she knows her God. I am not saying God gave her cancer. I am saying that He stepped in and redeemed a dreadful experience to make her shine more with His image and bring Him glory, not just in that situation, but in situations to come in her life.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Death by Love « Roots Run Deep

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