Religion is predicated on the false notion that there is a GAP between us and GOD.
And that doing religion right is how we bridge that GAP.
us ------------> GOD
The Gospel, by contrast, is radical, different, unique, one-of-a-kind. Only the Gospel tells of the GOD Who Stoops to unite with us - not where we ought to be, but where we are.
us <------------ GOD
THIS IS THE GREAT REVERSAL...
Both the Old and New Testaments show GOD as being keen to reverse the positions of those who are above with those who are below. Old Testament prophets often proclaimed that their GOD brings down the ruling powerful from their thrones, to lift up the poor and vulnerable. He did just this in the Exodus and numerous other places. In the New Testament, Jesus spoke of the prideful being cast down and the humble being raised up in echo of what his Father is like.
No one could have guessed or would have ever imagined how far GOD would go in his greatest reversal. Two thousand years ago, the GOD of all power stepped down from his cosmic throne. In Jesus, he humbled himself, became one of us, united himself to us in our poverty and vulnerability, in order to lift us UP.
Religion says we are to lift ourselves UP by doing more and trying harder.
- If you are a Buddhist, you must be nice and successfully complete the Eight-Fold Path of Enlightenment.
- If you are a Muslim, you have to pray five times a day, pilgrimage to Mecca, etc. etc.
- If you are a Jew, you must keep over 600 laws. Good luck with that.
- If you are New Age, you have to save the whales and go green.
- If you are a Christian, some churches say your doing more and trying harder comes in the form of giving time, energy, money, and not embarrassing the church leadership with bad behavior.
The next time you hear someone wonder if all religions are the same, say YES.
Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of GOD, Son of Man, is different.