Yep, by grace alone we have been saved.
Good news, right? Then why do so many still focus on the You know, one of the biggest enemies of the [collective] Christian Church is man-made traditions. Although well-intentioned, these rituals and rules are often all about “working” and fleshly attempts to please God. It pays no attention to the by grace alone element of redemption.
The wild thing is this is nothing new…check out Colossians 2!
I know about this subject first hand. I grew up in a time of “can’ts” and “don’ts”. They taught me more about what I could NOT do than what I could do as a Christian. I grew up in a time the Church of God In Christ was something of a rule mill.
I could not wear makeup. Boy, I looked awful for a minute.
I could not wear pants. I did.
I could not color my hair. All the time, I colored it. Blonde one.
I could not go to the movies. I worked at the movies. It was my first job.
Bear with me, I’m being somewhat sarcastic. I’m still talking about by grace alone we are saved. I just still have a little yuckiness when I think about how duped I was. Even though I did what I wanted, I really thought I was going to hell. A sixteen year old thinking that!!!! Insanity.
While my church had all these rules, my mom didn’t make us adhere to them. She didn’t either. Honestly, she probably thought she was a backslider because of it. She grew up in the height of legalism. So sad.
Yeah, I did all the “don’ts” until I gave my life to the Lord. I was maybe 17. That’s when I tried to be “saved” and got rid of all the liberty I enjoyed.
I would paint my finger nails only very light or muted colors and wore very little makeup. I even tried to stop wearing pants. For the most part, I lived my very best version of the “letter of the law”.
But, praise be to God, I finally got the right Christian teaching!
As I attended a church with a Ph.D trained pastor, I learned what the scriptures some preachers twisted actually meant!
I grew free in Jesus.
That’s why I love solid theology. It frees us to know what the Word of God is. Do you know what I mean?
Not just mean, I’m so glad many others have found freedom and salvation by grace alone too. They have discovered the liberty of serving Jesus Christ without being chains of religion.
On our best day, we couldn’t work our way into God’s favor. It’s all about grace. We are saved because God is so merciful and gracious – not because we of what we “do” or don’t “do”.
Like Ephesians 2:8 says:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
I know, right??? So good.
Hey, no matter what you do, what you wear or how many times you go to church…you cannot please God on actions alone.
You must take full advantage of His invitation to grace by way of Jesus Christ. Speaking of Jesus, He wasn’t a big “tradition” person either – study the gospels.
So, it doesn’t matter what you DO (or don’t do) as a Christian, it’s all about repentance – turning from your sin and allowing God to conform you into the image of His Son.
It’s a process – sometimes a really difficult one, but the benefits are liberating and eternal.
In the end, I respect the need for traditions.
But remember, our harvest is the “lost”. They need Jesus so miserably and often the biggest barrier is US; Christians stuck in the bondage of tradition – what to wear; what to say; how to act. Who cares!
It’s better to spend time getting to know God and allow Him to change us through His Word. Read my post on Bible verses to meditate on for strength and encouragement. Or my post on how I revived my prayer life. Prayer and rooting oneself in God’s Word
May our human need for tradition never hinder the lost from coming to church- or worse- coming to the Lord.
Oh well, maybe some of the traditions train young Christians with structure. I’m still pondering that. But, our traditions put us into bondage or spiritual confinement. God is too big for that and you’re too blessed for that!
What do you think?