There’s a great difference between the sin mongering, righteousness marketing gospels and the life-giving Way of Jesus Christ. ‘Try Harder’ gospels and ‘keys’ always tout themselves as ‘the way.’ But they fall under the heading of hollow and deceptive philosophy. But there is only one Way that is real and one that works: Jesus Christ. The teachers of the law were mightily put out when Jesus put Himself forward as THE WAY. Some like to think of themselves as the way and offer their ‘keys’ as the door to the Kingdom. But there is One Way and it is not us.
Paul wrote that the Father will bring all things together in Christ. In Christ means in His Person: His Person in you by the Holy Spirit and His Person present and among Believers gathered in His Name. The real Jesus is the Jesus who lives in the persons of Believers. Jesus is real when present by the Spirit and incarnate in Believers. Jesus lives in those who eat Him.
In both inventive and creative ways there are lesser ways that put themselves forward as The Way. Serenely oblivious that they are substituting themselves for Jesus, the marketers of religion are convinced that their methods and ways are Jesus. But strategies, programs and ‘keys’ are no more Jesus than your tennis shoe is you. These ‘ways’ are a conceptual jesus and a false christ but they are not the Jesus who was raised from the dead or the Jesus who gives life to dead people and dead forms. They are figments of ‘the letter.’ Reject them like the paper gods they are.
‘These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings’ Col 2.22 NIV.
When asked ‘where is Jesus in all this?’ the merchants of religion give themselves away. “That’s a given” they remark with flesh born confidence. And they are right. the That’s a Given Troup have given Him away. Jesus has been given away for a ‘mess of pottage.’ Here is Esau’s formulaic soup of ‘must do’s’ and cutting edge works. Don’t accept this in exchange for your Birthright, which is CHRIST IN YOU. Eat the Bread of Heaven.
Be on your guard. Formulaic strictures are no advance on the laws of Moses. They belong to the same category and are the stock in trade of ‘try harder Christianity’ and the performance monger. They are sourced in Adam and have never made the transition into Christ as our life. Jesus is the Way when He is your life and He lives in you.
‘Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence’ Col 2.23 NIV.
Avoid hollow and deceptive philosophy built around the need to create a career or a ministry. Marketers of christianity can be zealous in their desire to attach you to their agenda and their rules. ‘If you loved the Lord and were really serious about the church, you would abide by these things’ they say. Take no notice of them. Even if they say they have prayed all night and have wept themselves dry. In attempting to bind you they insert themselves between you and Jesus. They align themselves with the circumcision group who loved to excise the liberty of others to boost their sense of religion. Rest easy. If Jesus is your life your personal and community relationships will reveal the love, colour and zest of the life of God.
‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ’ Col 2.8 NIV.