Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Jesus: Grace and Truth or Religion and Tradition?

Dear friend,  I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 MOUNCE

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

 As always, proclaiming the Goodness of God is at the heart of all these teachings. In studying Luke's Gospel concerning healing and God's role in it, it seemed good to conclude by focusing on the truth that Jesus alone is our qualification to receive anything from God. However, it seemed better by the Lord to revisit this passage one more time.

Through this focus on the 13th chapter of Luke's Gospel, we've seen some powerful truths expounded on. We've seen that religious tradition sees healing as some work, that it must be earned. We've seen that healing is a New Covenant right of the believer because of Jesus' Finished Work of Redemption. We've seen who the author of sickness and disease is, the enemy, satan, never God. We have seen that Jesus is our qualification to receive healing, not our behavior or anything we do.

 In concluding this study of the healing of the woman in the Synagogue, the Lord highlighted the words the religious leader spoke here;

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”  Luke 13:14 NKJV

 Take note, look closely at the words here. See the reaction of this leader. A woman with a crippling infirmity, a painful condition that had her hunched over for eighteen years was instantly healed and made whole. Was the leader's words something like this?

 "Oh God of Israel, in your hand is to make great and give strength unto all. In your hand comes blessings and wholeness. We thank Thee O' God for in your hand is healing. We thank Thee for removing this crippling condition in our midst!"

 No, they weren't. No praises to the Most High for such a miracle was offered. Instead, we see that this leader answered this healing not with thankfulness and praise but with indignation! He was highly displeased, angry and vexed. 

 Traditional religion cared more for their tradition than this woman's healing and wholeness. Religion cares not how much suffering they allow only that their rules, regulations, and statutes are seen and observed. Religion and tradition are always in opposition to God's Love, Goodness, and Grace.

  making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV

 There is no difference today. We still see pain and suffering, sickness and disease, and poverty and lack in this fallen world. God raises up men and women of God who reveal God's heart for Goodness and blessings and wholeness and religion raises up angrily. They call anyone who dares teach that God willingly heals, makes whole, and blesses today a heretic and false teacher. 

 Religion and tradition teach the age of miracles has ceased. They say healing and miracles were only for the beginning of the Church. Once we have the Bible we no longer need healing and miracles. What does God say?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NKJV  

 Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and always for all time. Jesus has never changed. Jesus healed the sick, made the lame walk, made the blind see, made the deaf hear, and brought deliverance to any captive. Here's the Good News, Jesus is still doing this today! Jesus isn't looking for you to earn or deserve wholeness, He only asks for you to simply believe. Disregard religion and tradition, it's already yours in Christ.

 Religion and tradition teach that God is the author or allower of sickness and disease and disaster and death. That He willingly afflicts for some mysterious purpose. Jesus' life and ministry disprove this unquestionably. Jesus is God manifest in flesh. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the enemy. Jesus is God's perfect will in action. God is for us not against us. He is a Good God always and at all times!

 Religion and tradition have no answer for tragedy, turmoil, and trauma. They insist God is sovereign, and controlling all things therefore He must have allowed or ordained the tragic event. 

 This world is a fallen and fractured creation. There is also an outlaw defeated devil running loose. Mankind has free will and the right to choose good or evil. This is why we see such suffering on this planet. This has never been God's best nor has it ever been His perfect will. 

 The Word gives us hope in this world;

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19 NKJV

 This is such good news in a fallen and fractured creation. Even though affliction exists God is there bringing deliverance and restoration. We can trust God in this fallen world.

 Religion and tradition only have faith in the many afflictions of the righteous. They see it all around them. They only speak death, disease, and defeat with their mouths. They have no Faith in His deliverance. They actually fight the notion that the Lord delivers us out of these afflictions. 

 In order to overcome these traditions, we must stay grounded in the Word of God, the Word of Christ our Lord. We must feed on the Word and see Jesus and His Goodness from Genesis to Revelation. We rightly divide the Word by the Old and New Covenant and see Jesus as our anchor and guide to walk in all truth and to grow up and mature in Him.

 We must also not give attention to these religious traditions of men. This doesn't mean we separate from other believers. This doesn't mean we judge and accuse others. This doesn't mean we count other believers as our enemy.

Grace vs Nihilism 

 In not giving attention to the traditions of men, we must not come to a place where we embrace a diluted form of nihilism. What am I referring to? Let's look at the Merriam-Webster definition of nihilism;

a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless

a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

summed up-the belief that traditional morals, ideas, beliefs, etc., have no worth or value

 In the circles that have embraced Grace as the Gospel there exist individuals, ministers, and laypeople alike, who because of feeding on erroneous sources have concluded all they ever heard is of no value. Going to church is of no value. Giving is of no value. Being a part of a fellowship is of no value. Listening to the Word preached or personal Bible study is of no value. Finally, living morally is of no value.

 Let's be clear embracing Grace, receiving the truth of His all the time Goodness, rejecting religious tradition, is not an embrace of a diluted nihilistic world view. Embracing Grace doesn't mean all that was ever taught us has no value. Just filter out any performance-rooted mindsets and rejoice in all the truths of the Word.

 In summation, let God be true and every man a liar. God's a Good Father and wants our best. The world is a fallen creation. There are bad things as a result. That doesn't mean God created it or ordained it. Let's stay in the center, and relinquish any lies of the world, the enemy, religious tradition, and the flesh. Stay with Grace and truth and not with religion.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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