Writings on Christianity

Incompatible Joy

Incompatible Joy

In Jesus we have a joy that is more wonderful than all the pleasures of the earth. Our hearts are enraptured with the God of the universe who made us in His image and redeemed us by his blood. The joy springs up from an awareness of God’s grace: God saw us in our rebellion and out of sheer mercy and love saved us by sending Jesus to die in our place. This is an outrageous grace and unmatched love: Our Creator loves us and knows us and cares for us. The heart that understands and believes this, tastes that God is good (Ps 34:8). Such a person knows the fullness of joy found in God’s presence (Ps 16:11), and has the knowledge of Jesus as the goal and prize of his or her life.

In man-made religion there is only gloomy despair. Man-made religion, or works righteousness, states that God will accept the good and damn the bad, therefore do your best and try to be one of the good. The result is an exhausting race for acceptance with God filled with fickle badges made up from the honor of our own works. We claim we’re moral and good. We say that we’ve done enough good things. We look down on all who don’t look like us, or follow all of our man-made rules. But we’ve wandering the from the truth: the goal has shifted from knowing and pleasing God through our works to an obsession with our own religious efforts and performance. The Law of God becomes our God rather than an instrument used to draw us near to God.

The joy experienced in the gospel is incompatible with man-made religion. The gospel tells us that God has freely bought us with the blood of Jesus. It insists that what Jesus has done must be our boast and that God Himself must be our treasure and joy. It frees us to uses the Law—which first led us to profess Christ—as an instrument to help us grow in godliness and love for God. The joy we have in the gospel cannot be combined with the fleeting pleasures of thinking much of our religious performance. They are incompatible.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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