I am currently reading the book On the New Testament by Pastor Mark Driscoll. It is an interesting little book that attempts to answer some of the questions that new believers, seekers, and even long time believers may raise regarding the New Testament.
In attempting to answer the following question, ‘What is the Central Point of the New Testament?’, he makes the following points contrasting religion with the gospel…
“As sinners, we are prone to pursue a relationship with God in one of two ways. The first is religion/spirituality and the second is the gospel. The two are antithetical in every way … Religion says that if we obey God, he will love us. The gospel says that it is because God has loved us through Jesus that we can obey … The goal of religion is to get from God such things as health, wealth, insight, power, and control. The goal of the gospel is not the gifts God gives, but rather God as the gift given to us by grace. Religion is about what I have to do. The gospel is about what I get to do.”
Can you agree with the point Mark Driscoll made above?
Then he makes the following points about hardships and suffering …
“Religion sees hardship in life as punishment from God. The gospel sees hardship in life as sanctifying affliction that reminds us of Jesus’ sufferings and is used by God in love to make us more like Jesus.”
What do you think? Can how a person responds to suffering and hardship reveal in what way a person typically pursues a relationship with God … via religion or via the gospel?
I like the final contrast between religion and the gospel Pastor Mark offers in the book …
“Religion ends in either pride (because I think I am better than other people) or despair (because I continually fall short of God’s commands). The gospel ends in humble and confident joy because of the power of Jesus as work for me, in me, through me, and sometimes in spite of me.”
Sometime in spite of me … so true, so true!
Thanks Pastor Mark … good stuff!