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