Why do I say that? Because at my church there exists a radical ‘leave-it-all-behind to follow, to know, to love HIM’ attitude. I delight in knowing that most of the people who attend cling to Him as I do, and they are a precious group of believers.
People who are seeking mere religion have pretty much the opposite attitude. “Well, let’s don’t get carried away about it all.” Why do they bother with church at all? I believe it is because the religion they seek is one to add a layer of insulating protection between themselves and God, rather than one intended to truly find Him. In their thinking, however subconscious it may be, religious duties and ceremonies serve to appease an angry God.
True religion, or true life through Jesus Christ, strips away that layer of insulation. It brings the repentant heart fully into a surrendered, unconditional love relationship with the living God. The repentant heart is one that knows full well that God sees the sin. It doesn’t try to hide or cover the sins with works or ceremonies designed to convince Him - and most likely other people - of innate worthiness.
Which camp are you in? Are you trusting in your own “good works” to gain God’s favor and ultimately, access to heaven? Or do you recognize that God’s righteous anger has been appeased by the blood of the Lamb?
If we stay in the condition of trying to mask our sin and win His favor, we die. It is only when we confess the sin and turn away from it that we truly live. By recognizing and receiving the finished work of the cross – for Jesus died on that cross once for the sins of all – we pass out of death into eternal life.
Hebrews, chapter 9:8-14, is a good passage to begin with if you would like to see this from the scriptures.
8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,
9which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,
10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;
12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
1 John 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As living proof of the very plan of God, the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, was prophesied throughout much of the Old Testament, here is a passage from Isaiah.
Isaiah 9:6-7 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the LORD and said, "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
[ALL SCRIPTURES NASB]