Relationship vs Religion
When Jesus called Peter, ‘Satan’. what did He mean? What trap did Peter fall into to be called Satan?
Many Christians fall into this same trap. They want to please God, but they either don't understand God or they themselves have lost their joy and have become 'religious'. It’s relationship vs. religion. There is a huge difference between these two.
Religion: What man thinks he is doing to please or appease God. Like Saul in the New Testament when he went on a Christian killing spree, often man's idea of who God is and what He requires is way out of kilter with reality.
Micah 6:8 reveals, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your
We are to do the right thing, with the right attitude. Joseph was going to put Mary away quietly because he was righteous and did not want to expose her to a public disgrace. So, to act justly, as Joseph did, is doing the right thing with the right attitude. (To do the right thing with a condemning attitude is evil.)
Toward others we are to show mercy. I met a fellow brother in Christ. He had been drinking. I went up to him, greeted him with a hug and we chatted. His wife had left him for his best friend months ago. Should I condemn him for still wallowing in pity and drinking? Of course not, I love him. I hugged him. I let him know I was there for him. It would have been easy to preach to him, to upbraid him. But God did not lead that way. The Lord will restore him at the right time. I am not his judge.
Micah also says that we are to walk humbly before God. To be humble doesn't
mean be a weakling, but to remember that God created you. He is in charge. Moses was a great leader in charge of millions, but God said he was the most humble man in the world. Jesus, who could have called armies of angels to protect Him, humbly followed His father’s plan.
What then is God’s idea of religion?
In Jeremiah 22:16 it states "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD." And James says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:21
But what comes out of peoples mouths? Judgments on others. "God says, 'don't do this, don't do that.' Basically they are saying, Secretly people who do this are full of pride and arrogance. If we follow them, we quit following God. We become like the foolish Galatians, where even Peter had to be corrected. These religious people are actually exchanging the mercy of God for their own judgment of man.
We shouldn't condemn when God doesn't. If we think condemnation is necessary, then let's pray for the person and approach him or her in compassion, not in an attitude of judgment. For the Lord loves mercy. We are to, also.
In a recent Bible study, a lady was saying terrible things about all Muslims. One of the Christians in the group has Muslim friends who are nothing like that. He told her such. Where did her judgment come from? Not from God. But from her own heart of religious vigor.
Yes, they need Jesus. This is simply a spiritual truth. But to cast evil aspersions on them is not what God intended. He wants them to come to the truth of God and His love and mercy. Who was this lady following? She is a real Christian, but has lost the Way, the joy, and has quit walking humbly before God.
When Jesus rose from then dead and the Holy Spirit came to us, we have peace with God, we who were once without God and without hope. This is the relationship, that we know God, and fellowship with Him, we are acquiring His character, His attitude toward ourselves and others.
Now we can do the right thing, clean up our lives, now we can love our neighbors, now we can forgive from the heart, etc. Now we can quit judging others but rather simply show them the Way of Life. But remember, we are not perfected yet, even Peter had to be rebuked a few times. So, let's keep in close fellowship with our Lord and walk according to the spirit not the selfish desire of the flesh. Let's obey Micah 6:8.