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The End of Religion: Part 1

• Bruxy Cavey

Adam and Eve were created to be in an intimate relationship with their Creator based on trust and love. With his craftiness, however, the Serpent talked about God as though he was not present and caused Adam and Eve to understand God in terms of religion, rather than relationship. Religion has then become the Church’s dominant way to interact with God, and yet he is calling us back to a grace-based relationship rather than a rule-driven religion.

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For many Christians today, our relationship with God has been reduced to the means of a happy afterlife. Instead of understanding eternal life as unfolding right now, we often view eternal life as starting after we die, and so we focus on what happens after death instead of focusing on the here and now. When we make our relationship with God a religion, we tend to focus on rules and regulations to get us “over there”. Instead of realizing that God is here with us, we tend to think that God is over there and we need something to bridge the gap. So our relationship with God has become a means to an end. We need to get to heaven, so thus we need God. And yet God created us for so much more than just to use him for our own gain.

When God created Adam and Eve, he invited them to join in on the loving relationship(s) of the Trinity. God was with them 24/7 and they thrived in a loving relationship with the One who made and loved them. Yet the Serpent used his craftiness to bring doubt and confusion to something that once was so clear. The Serpent crafted his question in such a way that made it sound like God was not present. And instead of calling on God to talk to him directly, Eve too talked about God as though he were not there. And this was the beginning of religion: when a real and thriving relationship with God is replaced with conversations about God as though he is no longer here with us.

As we cultivate a relationship with God, it’s easy to forget that God is living and breathing and right here with us. He can easily become a topic to debate and to defend, instead of Person to love and be loved by. While we are called to use our minds to think and to learn, we are also called to love with our hearts. Let’s learn to do both well.

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Topics: Grace, Presence of God, Relationships


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4 thoughts on “The End of Religion: Part 1

    Peter says: Thursday August 7, 2014 at 6:05 am

    For Podrishioners it is particularly pleasing when the planets align (or is that now the four blood moons ;-)), between what we are doing in personal study (my case, “The Beloved Community of God”), the message from the local Church (my case, unity in diversity in Ephesians) and WHC message (even though it was “imported”…but important! ).

    Perhaps there is diversity in these sources, but to me the Spirit’s enlightenment brings them altogether.

    The main driver for me has been a quote from the book I am studying,

    “It is not that we were created as independent separate beings to be brought into this community. Made in the relational image of God, we are ‘ecclesial’ – community-minded and community-structured…by our very creation. How appallingly perverse, then, that this natural and intimate
    community of love has been fractured by human sin!”

    Reflecting on this situation, our core self is, in fact, ontologically communalistic (trinitarian) and not individualistic as Bruxy brought out post the Fall.

    This also ties back to Greg’s prior message and the “two kingdoms”. In relation to this, Paul’s quote from Eph 1:19-23 is interesting,

    “19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; 22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.”

    While in these verses there is no suggestion that these rulers are all evil nor is there any reference to their goodness….just that there is a ranging order and that Christ is above all. So that with especially Eph 1:21 above and 3:10,

    “10 that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”

    there could have been rulers who were appointed by God to be over kingdoms and princedoms, but who changed their loyalty to God while retaining the mandates given to them. This in some way affirms Rom 13:1,

    “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

    Further to this as a commentator puts it,

    “God lifts Man up into heavenly places (Eph2:1-10) through grace. Man, deposed by sin, has had to “follow the course of this world” and has also had to follow “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph2:2). In lifting up Man, God also “seats him with Himself” in Christ in the heavenly places, so that Man is a participator in the ruling Messiah! In this sense, he who was empty (man) is now filled.

    Part of the Church living in the world is dealt with in Ephesians 3:8-11. Paul speaks of the stewardship given to him “to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God” (verse 9). Verse 10 recognises that the Church is always showing “the manifold wisdom of God” to principalities and powers. This is quite amazing, and it is “according to the eternal purpose which he has realised in Christ Jesus our Lord (verse 11). Whether these powers are good ones or evil ones is not revealed, but they are almost certainly both. Evil powers will scorn wisdom, and good powers will know better how to do the will of God.”

    Effectively, there is one True Community and the false “religious” community that seeks to subvert the True Community. At the Fall when the “religious” community commenced, we later have Cain attempting to duplicate that which his brother Abel was doing by way of sacrifice, but this was not from his heart (Cain) and was rejected by God. From here it is not hard to see the psychological aspects damaging fallen man who has turned to his own individualistic lifestyle (without God) to find meaning in a communalistic created world. It is further noted that the gospel message is naturally consistent with being “nations” focussed, while of course it requires individuals, their fullness and maturity is progressively achieved through fellowship, service and worship in the Church to obtain full restoration of that which was lost in the Fall.

    So the Church in the life of the believer is not just a “nice to have” or shall we say a “religious” tack-on to the Christian life but absolutely integral to living and growing in God’s family.

    Reply
    M85 says: Thursday August 7, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Nice message. Seemed full of grace and love to me.

    Reply
    Dave Pritchard says: Friday August 8, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Bruxy is always a fountain of knowledge and experience! He’s like Greg 2.0 on spiritual roids! Ha! Next to Woodland Hills, “the Meeting house” has got to be one of the most awesome epicenters of Kingdom Activity out there! Brilliant Message!!!

    Reply
    David W says: Tuesday August 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    What timing. I’m just now watching the video, a day after Robin William’s death, and the opening clip before Bruxy’s sermon is Robin Williams in the movie License to Wed. RIP Robin.

    Carry on… 🙂

    Reply

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