They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Matthew 23:4 (NLT)
Have you ever noticed how Jesus responded to the religious people of His time? By the way He addressed them in Matthew 23, it’s clear that He wasn’t a fan of religion. In fact, He taught that religion crushes people and makes them carry a burden too heavy to endure.
The word religion is rarely used in a positive sense. Religion uses guilt and fear to try to keep you in line. Its rules are designed to force your steps, and it relies on systems and rituals to earn God’s approval. When you’re taught that you have to do certain things to earn God’s blessings or avoid His punishment, that’s religion.
When you think about it, Jesus came to end all religion. He didn’t come to teach us more rules to follow in order to earn our relationship with God. He came to die in our place to secure that relationship for all who believe. Religion weighs people down with unrealistic expectations, but Jesus sets us free!
Some think teaching that Jesus makes us right with God gives people an excuse to sin. But I’ve actually noticed the opposite. The churches that preach about sin and judgment all the time cause people to be sin-focused instead of righteousness-focused, which results in more sin! More than any amount of guilt or shame, knowing who you truly are in Christ is what helps you live right!
Don’t trust in religion. Trust in the fact that accepting Jesus has already made you right with God. He paid the penalty for sin. God loves, accepts and forgives you. His power and ability are yours to help you change your life.