In Christ; or trying to get to God


If Jesus hadn’t been born, the best any one of us could do about getting to God would be a religious endeavor. Even if we were truly spiritual people seeking God, we would still only have religion. We wouldn’t have God; we would be on our way to God. That would be the best we could do, and we call that religion.

Here at the Catch we are — none of us — religious. (Don’t you hate it when someone calls you religious because you’re a Christian?) Most of us shudder even at the sound of the word.

Religion is all about human beings working their way to God. It starts here, but we never get to where it ends. In religion we work our way to God. We work our way, crawl our way, flagellate our way, study our way, sacrifice our way, meditate our way, even pray our way to God. But the problem with all of these is that you never make it.

Thank goodness Jesus was born, otherwise we would be stuck with religion. Without Jesus, everything about God is just religion.

It’s unfortunate that we still put Christianity in the broad category of religion, as in Christianity is one of the world’s great religions, but this is misleading. It is misleading to call Christianity a religion because it is not. It is a relationship made possible by Jesus coming to earth.

When Jesus was born and died 33 years later, the veil over the holy of holies in the temple in Jerusalem — the place where the high priest went once a year to meet with God — was torn in two signifying that all have access to God now. We don’t send a representative in; we go in ourselves, in fact we live there. We spend the rest of our lives living in Christ because we are the holy of holies and He lives in us.

In prophecy, Christ is called, “Emmanuel, God with us.” We are not just knowing about God; we are knowing God. The great goal of Paul’s life is “THAT I MAY KNOW HIM.”

In Christ we have access to God. Marti likes to liken this to crawling up into the lap of God and getting lost in the folds of His robe. This is what was made possible when Jesus was born. Believe me, it’s a much better deal than religion.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. Philippians 3:8-10

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6 Responses to In Christ; or trying to get to God

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Excuse me Pastor John, I could be wrong I often am, yet I disagree with this, you wrote:
    “(Don’t you hate it when someone calls you religious because you’re a Christian?)” although, I think I see the point you’re making. I don’t ‘hate’ it (which to me is a strong word & I believe in the power of word, so I try to refrain from using it) But the point is when someone calls me religious. I’ll try to see it as an opportunity to question them about what their beliefs, which hopefully leads to a conversation. .

    • jwfisch says:

      Good response. Use it as an opportunity. That aside, the last thing I would want to be known as is “religious.”

      • Mark D Seguin says:

        Right & me too – I would like on my tombstone: He was a friend of God, or what the Apostle Paul wrote: (A Mark’s paraphrase & can’t remember where in the NT it is?) “I have finished my course and keep the Faith”

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    Unfortunately, what the world calls “religious” is what a lot of Christians are known for. Going to church, talking about Jesus and the Bible, abstaining from worldly things, etc.. But think about this. If you are known for philanthropy, compassion, selflessness, living a life of joy when others complain, and being a faithful friend, few people would say “Man, you’re being very religious!”

    So I suspect that even the world knows the difference between religion and having God’s Spirit while following His Gospel.

  3. Sandie says:

    When that temple hanging that closed off The Holy of Holies was rent in two, it’s important to note two things. First – it was a thick, heavy woven piece; not something any man, or men, could tear – I doubt it could be easily cut. Second, it was torn from top to bottom, signifying that it was God’s work, not man’s that opened the way to a relationship with God.
    As to being called religious, it makes me shudder too…you can be ‘religious’ about anything – for instance brushing your teeth at the same time every day. Can you say OCD? It certainly describes the Pharisees and other church leaders (well-meaning though they may be) today.
    We used to have a hamster – running and running on his wheel, but never arriving at any destination…just exhausted from trying. That’s what happens to us if we get caught up in ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ – we put ourselves under the Law again and it gets us nowhere and depletes our resources.
    If Jesus never came, we’d be no better than that poor hamster.

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