(A collection of thoughts from different articles from "Quest"
by Brinsmead and others)
What is religion? "Re" means "again"; "ligare" means "to bind". The work of religion is to bind man to God. As Paul discerned, the system of law (religion) served an important purpose (Gal. 3, 4). With the coming of Christ, however, God acted both to fulfill and to terminate this order. He fulfilled the goal of religion by uniting ("religioning") God and man in His incarnate Person.
When Christ shouted "it is finished", it announced that no longer was our existence to be defined by the religious categories of God (theology) and man; creator and creature, master and servant. Jesus tore those pillars down with his death. Now we are on a one on one relationship with God. We are friends now. The very pillars on which religion has been built were abolished.
To perpetuate religion in the face of the finished work of Christ is therefore but a manifestation of unbelief. In attempting to bind man with God, religion attempts to do (anti, "in the place of"; Christ) what was done already by Him. To continue to define human existence with the old categories of God and man is a fundamental attempt to perpetuate that which was terminated at Christ's death.
Did Christ come to give us a "church" that would rule us or did he bring us the freedom to not have these organizations telling us what to do?
Humans want absolute certainty but that frees us from the responsibility of deciding what is right and wrong in religious and ethical matters. They fabricated vertical or pyramid hierarchies that promise security for a price: we must surrender our freedoms and follow them. Sin becomes any infraction of their arbitrary authority.
The fact is that blind obedience to any vertical religious authority causes people to act inhumanely toward themselves and toward others.
Jesus claimed no title other than being the Son of Man or human. He did not call himself the Messiah. He didn't want to even be called Rabbi or even "good". He was human as we are. He wanted to relate to others not vertically and hierarchically but horizontally. Jesus therefore refused to acknowledge all forms of vertical authority-thinking because they were inhuman. What makes Jesus greater than any other man is the fact that he acted without authority and that he regarded the "exercise of authority" as a pagan characteristic.
Mark 10:42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
His perception and teaching of the truth is direct and unmediated. He does not even lay claim to the authority of a prophet, the authority that comes directly from God. People were expected to see the truth of what he was doing and saying without relying upon any authority at all. The only thing that could give weight to the words of Jesus were the words themselves.
The only authority that Jesus might be said to have appealed to was to the authority of truth itself. He did not make "authority" his truth. He made "truth" his authority. Jesus did not expect others to obey Him. He expected them to obey the truth, to live truthfully. Jesus made a lasting impact upon people because by avoiding all authority-thinking he released the power of truth itself.
"Religion" is mankind's concern with bridging the gap between transcendent God "above" and man "below." Christ has replaced the vertical God/ man distinction with the horizontal I/thou relationship of the new covenant. We are liberated from the religious concern with bridging the gap between God and man, Creator and creature because now we deal with our mediator as friends on a horizontal plane of equality.
Understanding the Christ event.
God concluded that none other than God himself would have to invade the world and "religion" mankind. The noncommandable Creator adopted the commandable creature as his own reality and recapitulated the entire history of mankind. By his incarnate life the unique, one and only god/man removed the created distance between Himself and mankind. But more than this, Christ had to remove the commandable system which created the distance between God as Creator and man as creature.
The legal relatedness between God and man had to be abolished. Jesus Christ himself accomplished this by his death on Calvary, for there the distinction between God as Creator and man as creature was forever terminated. Christ's death thus embraced the death of God, the death of man, the death of the system of legal order, and the death of death itself. Suspended on the cross, he "religioned" heaven and earth.
All nature testified to this awesome event. The sun was darkened, the earth shattered, the cosmic scenes woven into the Temple veil were torn. When Christ said with his dying breath: "it is finished" the created system of dominant God and subordinate creature had fulfilled its purpose.
It was finished.
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