Self-righteous Religion vs. The Gospel
We recently spent time in the Gospel of Mark looking at Jesus' repsonse to the criticism of the Pharisees. They accused His disciples of doing what was not 'lawful' on the Sabbath (Mark 2:24). He responded to them by saying that the Sabbath was intended to be a gift to mankind for restoration, not a draining burden of man-made rules (Mark 2:27). He concluded His rebuttle of thier claims by declaring Himself the Lord, even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). In other words He says, "I am the One that instituted the Sabbath rest at the beginning of time when I created all things." (Gen. 2:2-3) "I am the One who established the Sabbath when I gave you the Law on Mt. Sinai." (Exodus 20:8-11; cf. Jude 5) "You are not in a position to tell me what is lawful on the Sabbath. It is mine."
In this passage Jesus faces His original hearers, and each of us, with a choice between two completely opposing approaches to God. One is the path of self-righteous religion. The other is the path of the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Here are some of the key contrasts between self-righteous religion and the good news of the Gospel.
|I give to God then He owes me.||Christ gives me a complete salvation, I gladly live for Him. (1John 4:19, 5:2-3)|
|I obey therefore I am accepted.||I am fully accepted in Jesus Christ therefore I obey. (Eph. 4:1; Rom. 12:1)|
|Saved by being better than everybody else.||Saved when I admit I am not better than anyone else in anyway. (Matt. 5:3; Rom. 3:23)|
|The law is there to assure you that you are a good person and o.k. with God.||The law is there to show you that you are not good, under God’s judgment and need a Savior. (Gal 2:16; 3:24)|
|The Law is what you must laboriously carry out in order to avoid punishment.||The Law becomes what it looks like to live a life of love, because you have already been perfectly loved. (John 15:12-14)|
|Relationships are filled with judgment.||Relationships are filled with mercy. (Matt. 9:13)|
|When hurt by others reluctant to forgive.||When hurt by others eager to forgive. (Matt. 18:21-35)|
|Lives with focus on behavior.||Lives with focus on the heart that shows itself in how we live. (Mark 7:14-23)|
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