Is God In Your Religion?
|The situation I see is this:
The churches have religion but not God. If you wish to learn about
that is good, go to the churches. But if you wish to find God that is
another matter. What is the difference?
That ought to be evident from plain reason, as Luther said, plain
reason. It is one thing to read and learn
about wine. It is another thing to drink it. It is one thing to be in
love. It is another thing to make love.
It is one thing to know some philosophical things about God. It is quite
another thing to meet God in one of
the many limited ways humans are capable of. It is one thing to
read up on grace. It is another thing to
experience grace. The Kingdom of God has a thousand doors. I suggest you
can find one that will open to
Churches often are peddling a God which they obviously do not have and certainly cannot give. God is not a materialistic substance that can be handed around. If you are told God can be literally made and eaten, while a human church hierarchy controlled by ecclesiastical politics and bureaucratic red tape is in control of who gets Him to eat, I would suggest you consider if you are not being misadvised unintentionally.
However, even then it is not by doctrine that you will be “saved” (given immortal spiritual life more abundantly in this life and the next.) The important thing is your relationship with God. But if you think you have to literally fight violently over religion, forget it, you haven’t got any. You just have a bad case of religion without God. You may have a religious club or organization but God is not in it. If God is in it, you know it, just as you know if you are drinking wine, making love or experiencing God’s grace. And if God is not going to be in your religion, I wouldn’t waste the time. We need no more “No Love” religious clubs.
The churches go out to spread their doctrines all over the world. Sometimes the Gospel goes with them. Occasionally a man or woman or child meets the spiritual Christ full of redemptive force. I know this sometime happens, but I see it as rarer than one might desire. One reason is because the ones interested in God seem interested in Him for a multitude of selfish reasons. They are rather like social climbers. They want to know God in order to use Him. They have so many selfish reasons, they do not listen to God but hammer Christ to death on another cross that nails Him to death with hopes and selfish fantasies for their own gratification and self-aggrandizement.
After all, most prayers are monologues that rarely give a moment of silence for God to try to slip in a Word edgewise. People generally pray to give God the Word on what to do rather than to hear God’s Word or what is to be done. Petitioners feel they are in a bind but do not realize that God, given His commitment to honoring human free will, is often in a bind too. God, as Christ shows us, is often suffering on a cross in honoring our free will, caring for us, being obligated to do for us, and committed to natural laws created to give life regularity and order.
Jesus through His position on the cross shows us the cross God is on. Though God is omniscient, can He use it? That is why the godly and the good must sometimes lose in life or the short run when God might want to act directly and quickly. But God must keep His word, He must honour and suffer, having granted us free will as individuals and members of a community while upholding the laws of regularity and common grace.
But always God and His grace filled ones will be the Victors in the long run after man’s free will and short term thinking decompose and destruct. When man’s temper tantrums have subsided, God steps forth in the havoc and wreckage to rework, reform and reunite. For as misguided mankind decomposes and wrecks, the grace of God always comes to the fore again to make order of life and love.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.