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I cannot accept the theology that says God breaks us to make us whole. We are whole because of the cross. Jesus never broke a bruised reed or quenched a smoking wick. He was the exact representation of God to us. He never told anyone that He would heal them after they learned a lesson. He never told anyone that tragedy happened in order to teach them something (remember the tower of Siloam).

I can understand enduring great hardship and thinking God must be allowing it, or even brought it, for a purpose. But Jesus did not model that. He said instead the we would have trouble in this world, but He has overcome the world. He came to destroy the work of the devil. And then He told us to go into the world and bring that kind of kingdom to the people. To be ministers of reconciliation.

What kind of kingdom? One where wholeness is the goal. One that operates from God’s heart of grace. One that models love and all the fruit of the spirit. One that heals, mends, lifts up, and walks along side. One that is diametrically opposed to the works of the devil, and doesn’t confuse his works with God’s ways. This is the new covenant mindset.

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Religion means ritual service. The Greek, thréskeia means ritual worship, religion (reverence or worship of the gods), or worship as expressed in ritual acts.

Religion is not the new covenant way. It is a dead way, not a new and living way.

Why any would think we benefit from ritual acts, when we have the fullness of God himself living in us, is beyond me. Yet I hear it all the time, often from pastors. They say it’s how we touch God. Oh, really?

James 1:27 (Easy To Read Version) The kind of religion (worship) that God accepts is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s {evil} influence. This is the kind of religion (worship) that God accepts as pure and good.

James is not saying that religion is worship that God accepts, or that caring for orphans and widows is worship.

He is saying that action and caring are what God accepts, not ritual.

Showing you faith in your works is a huge theme with James. Like Paul, he is saying that it’s our reasonable service. It is not service to God, but to the members of the body, the church. God himself is not served by human hands.

Nobody ever connects with God in a real or true way by rituals. They in fact form a barrier, requiring priests and go betweens, and objects, and recitation of words. Empty, meaningless words, designed to make the worshiper feel that they are touching God, when in fact it is faith in His words that pleases Him.

Jesus said that the day was coming when people would worship God in spirit and in truth – for these are who God seeks. The place (neither a mountain, nor temple with rituals) is neither spirit not truth. Jesus is truth.

The day Jesus spoke of is here.

We have the Holy Spirit abiding in us. No more go betweens. No more pretenses. No more uncertainty. So again, why would anyone want to practice empty religion?

 

 

 


 

This is excellent! Andre van der Merwe is the speaker.

http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/wp-content/uploads/When-did-the-Old-Testament-End-20min-3.4MB.mp3

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