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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Religion or Relationship

For you know that you were not redeemed from your useless [spiritually unproductive] way of life inherited [by tradition] from your forefathers with perishable things like silver and gold, but [you were actually purchased] with precious blood, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb unblemished and spotless, the priceless blood of Christ. For He was foreordained (foreknown) before the foundation of the world, but has appeared [publicly] in these last times for your sake.

—1 Peter 1:18-20 (AMP)



Are you in bondage to an image of God inspired by a tradition? Perhaps, you haven’t experienced the grace-filled depth of your redemption in Jesus. Maybe, you have thought of the blood of Christ that saved you as something perishable like gold or silver, when, in fact, His precious blood has saved you for eternity. For your sake, God put His perfect answer to restore your relationship with Him into place long before the world's foundation. Like a spotless and sinless lamb, Jesus Christ purchased your freedom with His precious blood that never perishes. You are free to experience the fullness of His grace—not to live in bondage to the traditions of men.


In Mark 7, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus, "Why do your disciples not live their lives according to the elders' tradition but eat bread with unwashed hands?”


Jesus replied, “Isaiah rightly prophesied correctly about you, hypocrites!” And then He quoted what Isaiah had written. “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain [their worship is meaningless and worthless, a pretense], teaching the precepts of men as doctrines [giving their traditions equal weight with the Scriptures]” (Mark 7:6a-7, AMP).


Have you believed more in the traditions of established religion than the Word? Jesus says that when the traditions of men are taught as doctrine, worship is meaningless and a pretense. 


“You disregard and neglect the commandment of God,” Jesus told the Pharisees, “and cling [faithfully] to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside and nullifying the commandment of God in order to keep your [man-made] tradition and regulations” (Mark 7:8-9, AMP).


Have you clung more faithfully to the traditions of men and what others think than to God’s Word? 


Religion will keep you in the tradition of men instead of the fullness of God. You don't find Jesus in religion. The imperishable freedom that Jesus offers comes in a relationship with Him. The traditions established by religion can grow more important in your life than the Truth of His Word. The Pharisees stated that Jesus ignored the traditions of their faith. Yet, some, like Nicodemus, were amazed at the miraculous things before them and sensed the relationship Jesus offered.


Are you willing to look at your faith honestly? Is your faith religion, or is it a relationship?  In worshiping or honoring God, does He feel distant?  Like you can't reach Him? Religion didn't die for you and purchase you with its tradition. Jesus Christ died for you and paid the price for your sin with His precious blood.


“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]” (2 Corinthians 3:17, AMP). 


Are you hungry for a relationship with Jesus? Where Jesus is, there is emancipation from bondage—from the traditions and religion of men! You have real freedom! You can't draw close to a tradition. Draw close to Jesus and His Word—allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into all Truth, and experience the depth of His love for you. His grace is freedom from religion. His grace is a relationship and revelation of love that sets you free. 



© 2021 Lynn Lacher

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