Category Archives: religious traditions

Does Good Friday Make You Feel Bad Religious Christianity Wants You To

The focus of Jesus’ horrific death on Good Friday certainly results in many ‘feeling bad’ about what happened. Maybe it should be called BAD FRIDAY?

Good Friday Guilt

A lot of “it’s my fault” or “mea culpa” happens on Good Friday.

Does God find pleasure in our ‘mea culpa’?

Even as Good Friday elicits major guilt and condemnation from believers, it is also leveraged to make ‘unbelievers’ feel really bad, with hopes they will finally believe in Jesus. What a way to come into the kingdom – through guilt, fear, and sorrow.

Is that how God wants us to feel? Is that how God wants unbelievers to ‘get saved’?

Does God want and appreciate our guilt, condemnation, remorse, and regret over Jesus’ crucifixion?

Hmm, I wonder how much God looks forward to the religious Good Friday services that make us feel so bad?

What really happened on Good Friday

What really came down during Jesus’ crucifixion? All blue skies at the Cross_photo by aaron burdenNotice, it has nothing to do with making you feel bad. In fact, the truth about His death should make you feel GLAD – very glad!

  • God so loved (take pleasure in, esteemed, wish well to) the world He gave His Son…not to judge the world (Jn 3:16,17)
  • When we were weak/ helpless/impotent/ without strength Christ died for us. Realize that scarcely for a righteous man or even a good man would one would die, (Rom 5:6,7)
  • God demonstrated His love toward us that while we were still sinners, His Son died for us – much more then we were justified/made righteous, acquitted, approved) by His blood (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies/hostile/with deep seated hatred, we were reconciled/decisively changed to God on account of His Son’s death (Rom 5:10)
  • Much more having been reconciled, we are saved/healed/ preserved/rescued by/inside/within) Jesus’ life (Rom 5:10). Indeed, on top of this, we are rejoicing/boasting/exulting/with head up high in God on account of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:11)
  • Since One died for all, all died (2Cor 5:14), therefore we were buried with Him into His death – and just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)
  • The Father was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting the trespasses against them (2Cor 5:19)
  • For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured/remained under/persevered the cross, despising/looking down on/scorning/disregarding the shame/disgrace (Heb 12:2)
  • He reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God in one body on account of the cross (Eph 2:16)
  • You once thought you were enemies with God, but He reconciled you in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless (Col 1:21,22)
  • You were dead in your trespasses, but He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses (Col 2:13
  • He saved us and called/named/invited us with a holy calling/summons, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace – given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2Tim 1:9)
  • By God’s will we have been sanctified on account of the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:10)
  • This Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12)
  • By one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified/(set apart as holy (Heb 10:14)
  • Their sins He remembers no more, thus no longer an offering for sin, and we have boldness to enter His presence by a new and living way that He consecrated for us through His flesh (Heb 10:17-20)
  • We draw near in full assurance of faith/divine persuasion – free from an evil conscience and our whole being washed clean/guiltless/innocent (Heb 10:22)

There are many more scriptures, but can you begin to see a pattern here? Please don’t let religious tradition and mind sets blind you from the fullness of truth!

Bottom line

Good Friday is really a GLAD day – reconciliation, peace, sanctification, innocence restored, joy, the end of all sacrifice and works – happened!

Good Friday is not a time to feel guilty, mourn, and regret.

The God Head was rejoicing, because “It is finished.” Humanity/the cosmos is reconciled, healed, rescued, made whole – whether the cosmos knows it or not.

How God proved the reconciliation of all

Ever wonder why Jesus was raised from the dead?

Many might think it makes going to heaven possible or that God will now forgive us of our sins. Think bigger.

Jesus’s resurrection only happened because of our justification/acquittal/ divine approval. (Rom 4:25) Selah

Mind you, this justification has nothing to do with something we have to do. He justified us without our permission or pleading. He even forgave us without our asking for it. Goodness, who is this God?!

So, stop ‘feeling bad’ on Good Friday or any other day! It’s ALL good!

Dig In

  • Religion focuses on God’s wrath being poured out on the cross. But the Word points to a lot of intentional restoration and joy going on. God restored what He started in the first place when He made man in His image and likeness.
  • To grasp the power of the Resurrection, you have to grasp the power of Salvation that happened ONCE FOR ALL on the Cross.
  • Do not let religious Christianity steal joy on your Good Friday. Enter into this celebration with the lights on and overflowing gladness flooding your heart and mind – even before the Resurrection celebration happens!

Is God A Judge? What Is God’s Judgment? Who Gets Judged?

What is God’s judgment and who gets judged?

Many Christians believe God’s judgment happens when He comes back. He will separate the goats from the sheep. God will get those nasty evil people who refused to repent and ask Jesus into their lives.

My goodness what a vindictive and punitive mindset to have about God who loved the world!

Scary judgment versus True judgment

Judgment is a confusing and scary topic. Religion makes it so.

If we do not understand His judgment through His everlasting lovingkindness, then it will continue to be intimidating, unsettling, and fearful.

Understanding of true judgment comes when we recognize that everyone is made in the image of God, God does not make bad reflections, and He sent His Son to restore this truth.

Is God A Judge?

Does God judge?

Sadly religious Christianity preaches that God is a judge – meaning, someday He will deal with all this sin in the world and all those sinners. He will pound the gavel and declare “guilty” or “innocent”.

Really?

What do we do with the following scriptures that negate this religious vindictive punitive mindset?

  • God didn’t send His Son to judge the world, but that the world be saved through Jesus. (Jn 3:17)
  • The Father judges no one (nothing) but gave all judgment to the Son. (Jn 5:22)
  • I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (Jn 5:30)
  • You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15)
  • …I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. (Jn 12:47)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19)
  • While we were sinners, Christ died for us and justified us by His blood and saved us. (Rom 5:8,9)
  • When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through His Son’s death, and since reconciled we are saved. (Rom 5:10)
  • Through one man’s offense judgment resulted, so through one Man’s righteous act resulted justification (GR. acquittal, absolution, approval) to all. (Rom5:18)

Sure looks like God is a non-judge Judge! Or His definition of judging is certainly different than ours.

Example of non-Judge judging

When Jesus said, “you judge according to the flesh, I judge no one”, He was speaking to those judging the woman caught in adultery. The self-righteous wanted to stone her to death, because the law commanded it.

But, Jesus had no words of condemnation. He came to fulfill (perfect) the law. Its perfection meant He spoke to her true identity. When He said ‘go and sin no more’, He didn’t mean do not commit adultery ever again. Jesus was exposing her emptiness and speaking of her true identity.

Sin (hamartia) means to have no share, to have no part, to be without, to be empty, to have no substance, to miss the mark.

Our mark, our identity, our part, our origin is God and He made us to enjoy and reflect His fullness of goodness. When we do things that don’t reflect Him we are without substance, without share. We are left empty as are others affected by our lack.

Jesus did not judge her actions, He spoke to her true being and for her “to be” so!

Meaning of Judge and Judgment

judge (krínō) – I judge, decide, to separate, distinguish, think good

judgment (krísis) – a decision, a judgment, divine judgment

Now, isn’t it interesting that ‘judge’ also means ‘think good’?

If “God is good and all the time God is good.”, then why wouldn’t His judgment be to ‘think good’ of all of us? Certainly something to think about.

Dig In

  • We tend to see judgment as a negative thing. We hope to escape God’s judgment because we believe it will be fierce. How quick we are to gloss over – God did not come to judge, but to save the whole wide world!
  • God’s judgment is reconciliation, restoration, salvation. The Greek word for salvation means deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness. God is not against man, He is for man – His wondrous reflection. We have believed lies about ourselves. God’s judgment dealt a death blow to those lies and falsehoods. One day He is coming to make it very clear who we all really are, in the meantime He is bringing this truth here and now. Yay!
  • If we understood what His judgement really means, then exceeding joy would be our confidence and perspective. One big result – we would judge with a “righteous judgment” – just like His.

What Is Agape Love What Does Agape Love Have To Do With A Cheerful Giver

In the previous post I exposed the misunderstanding of what ‘cheerful’ giver means. It has nothing to do with being happy! ‘Cheerful’ in the Biblical Greek is about being persuaded, disposed toward someone for their benefit…..

This post will explore who loves who and why in the context of giving.

Who loves who?

Bible translations for 2Cor 9:7 say – “…God loves a cheerful giver.”

Many may take this to mean, even though God loves the world, He especially loves those who cheerfully give. But this would mean God is partial and that He loves under certain condition.

Seems another reason why many believers are uncertain about their relationship with God.

Meaning of ‘love’ in 2Cor 9:7

The Greek word for love in this passage is agapaó.

Christians know it as ‘agape’ love.

Years ago I was taught ‘agape’ means

  • unconditional love
  • a love not based on will, it just is
  • a love not based on emotion
  • a constant love
  • only God’s love is agape

I was taught it, I believed it. No questions asked. Never did think to look up this agapaó love. I blindly accepted the traditional religious explanation.

Hmm, have you ever considered how many things, rituals, traditions, dogma you have been taught by the religious institution and blindly accepted them as gospel truth?

Greek meaning of ‘agape love –

agapaó (ag-ap-ah’-o) – I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem. Cognate: agapáō – properly, to prefer, to love

Hey, this is a much bigger and better agape than I had been taught!

Even consider “God is love.” (1Jn 4:8) He is the personification of the Greek meanings of agape! Hmm.

This agape love is referenced throughout the New Testament as God’s love to man, man’s love to God, and man’s love for one another. (e.g. Jn 3:16, Rom 5;8; Jn 8:42, 1Jn 4:20; Jn 15:12, 1Pet 4:8)

Back to love and cheerful giver. Who loves who?

God does not love a cheerful giver

Be assured I am no Greek Scholar, but upon looking up this verse in the Bible Hub Concordance for Greek, I was shocked to see the grammatical order actually says –

“…a cheerful giver loves God”!

This actually makes more sense.

Consider. We love because God first loved us. God so loved the world He gave. Freely you have received, freely give.

When we grow in grasping His agape love for us, then we really will love ourselves, and in turn naturally love our ‘neighbors’.

Remember, the meaning of ‘cheerful’ (giver) – favorably disposed toward others, are disposed because satisfied, and cheerfully ready to act because already approving.

So a ‘cheerful’ giver has first experienced God cheerfully giving to them! They have encountered His approving disposition towards them. In addition they have encountered His agape love – His preference for them, His esteem of them, His pleasure in them, His longing for them, His wishing well for them.

Giving does not involve

  • I will give to show God I love Him
  • I will be happy when I give because the Bible tells me to
  • I will be a cheerful giver because the church told me I should be
  • I will give so God will love me

Giving Involves

  • I love God because He first loved me
  • God has cheerfully loved me and given to me and I have received fully
  • I love God, I am a reflection of Him, and that naturally makes me a giver and a lover
  • God loves me whether I give or not, but I want to give. It is part of my spiritual DNA!

Dig In

  • Please say the meaning of agape love over yourself – God wishes well to me, He takes pleasure in me, He longs for me, His love for me flows from reason (it is not a fickle whim), He prefers me, and He esteems me.
  • If you have trouble loving your ‘neighbor’, then maybe you still need to love yourself. But that is hard to do – until you see how wonderful you really are. When you get that it changes the way you see everyone else, besides yourself!

Love Gives and Refelcts

  • No wonder Paul prayed – “…that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Meaning of Be Doers of the Word James 1:22

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (Ja 1:22 NKJ)

Most Christians read James 1:22 as their marching orders to DO WORKS.

We must DO things to please God, to prove we are believers, earn rewards in heaven, maintain our salvation, etc.

If you don’t DO – then figure you will be deceived about the security of your salvation.

Doer Versus Grace

How does grace fit in all this religious doing? It doesn’t.

What do we do with – being saved by grace through faith, and not by works, lest there be boasting? (Eph 2:8)

Remember, when Jesus was asked by His disciples, “What must we do to do the works of God”? Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (Jn 6:28,29)

Hmm, is ‘believe’ a work?

But James said we must be a ‘doer’. What do we do with that?

Religion came to the rescue to tell us what to do.

Traditional Religious ‘Doer’ Meaning
• Pray a lot
• Read and study the Bible
• Memorize scriptures
• Fast
• Worship God
• Weekly church attendance
• Serve and participate in church activities
• Be accountable
• Witness to unbelievers
• Get people saved
• Tithe and give offerings
• Observe the rituals
• Do good deeds

If the above list exemplifies a doer, then what is a hearer? Religion to the rescue again.

Traditional Religious ‘Hearer’ Meaning

Religion would say a ‘hearer’ is one who goes to church, listens to the word preached but forgets the sermon message and doesn’t personally apply its points. But they like to feel good or justified for a while from what they heard.

The religious institution would explain a ‘hearer’ is not committed to the Lord or the church.

Religion would say a ‘hearer only’ is a surface believer. Religion might even say a ‘hearer only’ is not a believer!

Religious Christianity values doers over hearers. They have to, it keeps the doors open.

To Do Or Not To Do_Nancy Teague GrowingInFullnessy

 

True Meaning of Doer and Hearer

To understand the ‘doer’ and ‘hearer’ words, in James chapter one, let’s look at their Greek meanings.

doer – Greek poiétés – (poy-ay-tace’) – a maker, poet, a doer, carrier out, performer

Poiétés is the word from which we get poet. So when you read ‘doer’ think of a creative person, a sensitive person, someone who has heightened awareness of themselves, their surroundings and others. They have empathy and compassion. Consider a performer – be it visual or verbal –  expressive, desirous and able to touch others’ lives.

hearer – Greek akroatés (ak-ro-at-ace’) – a hearer of, a listener to

A hearer is a good thing. Jesus said multiple times, he who has ears to hear, let him hear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God Christ (actually ‘Cristos’ in the Greek = Christ Jesus). If we truly listen and hear we will be hearing of things about Jesus and listening to what He has to say about who the Father really is and who we really are.

The Father even said, this is My Beloved Son, listen to him! Looks like that Word made flesh has important things to say and for us to hear, not do.

Hearer Is A Doer

In truth, James 1:18-25 is a beautiful picture of a grace-drenched hearer-doer. When you really hear the fullness of the Gospel you can’t help but be a doer!

Dig In
• Many Christians struggle with am I doing enough good works or are they the right good works. This ‘works’ mentality is driven by fear and guilt. Not good. Not God.
• Believe in Jesus – that is the only ‘work’ Jesus Himself said is doing the work of God. To fully believe is an incredible place of trust, confidence, and rest. What a place to live from and ‘do’ from.
• You’re a poet and don’t know it! It’s part of the fullness of your true identity.

P.S. Next post we will go look more closely at the verses in James 1:18-25 which point to the wonderful law of liberty that releases us as true ‘doers’.

Religious Grace versus True Grace In The Old Testament

In the last three posts I’ve been unpacking the When, How, Where, Why of grace according to religion.

Now it’s time to begin to see true grace in scripture.

But there is a problem!

If your understanding of grace comes from religious influence, then you will be hindered in knowing the fullness of true grace in either the Old or New Testament.

This religious influence can be determined by two words – ‘If then’.

If Then says Religion. Really?_GrowingInFullness.com

 

‘If then’ is religious Christianity’s formula for knowing God and following God. But is it right? Really.

The formula works something like this –

  • If God does this, then you must do this.
  • If you do this, then God will do this for you.
  • If you want God to do something, then you should do this.

So when reading the Bible please consider that many translations come from those influenced by ‘If then’.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Religious ‘If then’ Old Testament grace translation of Ps 84:11

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Ps 84:11 NKJ)

As an aside, in case you didn’t know, when you see a word in italics in a Bible verse that means the interpreter added this word.

Religious ‘if then’ interpretation of Ps 84:11 explains (and in my former traditional religious Christianity I would have concurred)

  • The religious translation says ‘will give’ (future implication), it does not say ‘gives’ (present tense). Thus any grace (or even glory!) He might give will depend on something you do.
  • If you walk uprightly (are good, live morally upright, do the church requirements – go to church weekly, participate in church programs, tithe, pray, worship, have daily quiet time, memorize scriptures, do the rituals, etc.) then He will give you good things.
  • He will even be a shield to you – i.e. will protect you if you live uprightly and do those religious requirements.

Conditions, conditions, conditions to get God’s blessings. Really?

Ps 84:11 is better and fuller than ‘If then’ religion says!

Check out the eye-opening fuller Hebrew meanings (in bold) of the key words in this verse. The words are in order as listed in the Hebrew translation of Ps 84:11. (source BibleHub.com)

“For (because) a sun (daylight) and shield; Lord God put/place/set grace (charm, pleasant, elegance, precious) and glory (glorious, abundance, riches, honor); the Lord not withhold (restrain) good (beautiful, pleasant, agreeable), walk (go, come) blameless (complete, sound).”

In other words – Because God is a sun and shield He put grace/charm/elegance/preciousness and glory/abundance/riches/honor (in you)! He did not withhold good/beauty/pleasantness/agreeableness (from you). So you go forth as you really are (full of charm, preciousness, abundance, and honor) – in blamelessness/completeness/soundness.

Notice the present tense of this verse in the Hebrew. There is no future tense ‘will’ nor is there any ‘If then’ equation in the Hebrew.

Now that is true grace!

Don’t let religion make you think or believe there is an “If then” in your relationship with God. Be you really are – full of grace and glory. Amazing!

Dig In

  • There is no ‘if then’ with God – all His promises and gifts are “Yes and Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2Cor 1:20)
  • God has ALWAYS been for you, in fact for everyone. Read scripture with this truth in mind, it will help you get rid of the religious ‘If then’ mindset.
  • Grace came in fullness when Jesus (God Himself) showed up as a human being, but the shadow of Jesus and His fullness is found in the Old Testament. Process all grace (in Old and New Testament) through Jesus Christ and you will grow in true grace and in fullness.

P.S. More to come in really seeing true grace in the Old Testament.

When Where You Get Grace Why You Need Grace According To Religion

If you have been brought up in religious Christianity, then you come away with a sense that grace is received when certain things happen.

Religious Grace Signpost


Religion says you get grace WHEN

  • you get ‘saved’ – now you are experiencing God’s grace (and you get ‘saved’ WHEN you acknowledge you are a sinner, repent of your sins, ask God for forgiveness, ask Jesus to be your Savior)
  • you continue to repent of future sins and ask for forgiveness
  • you ask for grace in difficult situations – otherwise you won’t have enough
  • you give grace to others, then you will get more grace
  • you have obeyed/done all the things that supposedly give grace – e.g. pray, fast, tithe, attend church regularly, be involved in church work, evangelize

Religion also teaches there is a WHERE –  certain times or circumstances to experiencing grace.

Religion teaches you get grace HERE and HOW

  • especially flows during a church service
  • in the midst of doing good works
  • from lots of prayer and fasting
  • participating in corporate responses – e.g. everyone fast because there is “grace on it”

 Religion is also very clear in why you need grace.

Religion explains WHY you need grace

  • because you are such a wretched person
  • it will make you a nicer person
  • it will enable you to do things for God

In fact, religion teaches – grace is so important, if you don’t get it, you are doomed to hell.

The religious mindset is – God has done His part, now you must do yours.

God’s part was sending grace through His Son, now we must do our part. Can you see how conditional religion has made grace?

Hey, religion does that with God’s love too. They preach that God’s love is unconditional, but next thing you know, they tack on conditions to experience it. Go figure.

Dig In

  • Hey, ever heard of this religious phrase? If you have ‘fallen away’ and ‘get right’ with God, then you will get “back in His good graces”. Does that mean God takes grace back or removes it when you sin? So, it is you and your sin that determines His grace? Is grace that conditional? Wonder what religion does with “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”? (Rom 5:20)  How about “by one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many“. (Rom 5:15 emphasis mine) How many is many? In the Greek, it’s the same word for ‘many’. Hmm.
  • Religion confuses us with their conditional Religious grace_GrowingInFullness.  If God’s love is truly unconditional, then that would mean His grace is too. If you feel limited in His grace abounding to you, then just figure you have let religion do a number on you. It has turned you upside down, so you can’t see Grace right!
  • Religion would say it’s a good thing Jesus came, otherwise we would not know grace. Wonder what they do with this verse – “…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” (2Tim 1:9 emphasis mine) Hmm, looks like grace has always been.

P.S. Next we get into exploring His true grace!

How You Get Grace According To Religion

In the previous post I shared about religion’s definition of grace – unmerited favor, getting what you don’t deserve, and religion’s acronym “God’ Riches At Christ’s Expense”.

If grace is unmerited favor, if grace is something you don’t deserve – then that implies God is not real happy with you.

Have you ever considered that heathen religions were continually dealing with unhappy gods? Over the centuries they appeased their gods through sacrifices. Hmm, looks like there is a common thread with heathen religions and religious Christianity!

Thus, ‘do’ things/sacrifices to get on God’s good side and receive His favor.

Religion's Grace Has Strings_Nancy Teague_GrowingInFullness.com


Traditional Religious steps (strings) on getting grace

• Acknowledge you are a sinner – that is who you are and  who you will always be
• Repent of your sins – i.e. be sorry for them, really sorry
• Let the tears flow – they add more sincerity and genuineness to your repentance – they especially mean that to those helping you and watching you ‘get grace’
• Ask God to forgive you – that is the only way to be reconciled with Him and for Him to welcome you into His presence
• Ask Jesus to be your Savior and Lord

Am I saying if you did these things above then they didn’t count for your ‘salvation’? Nope. But those things have nothing to do with your salvation. When I get to describing true grace, you will see that.

To continue receiving and enjoying His grace/favor religion says you should

• Continue to repent of any sins
• Obey His commandments
• Guard your heart and keep it clean
• Give grace to others if you expect to get any more favor from God
• Read the Bible, memorize scripture, pray, go to church, worship, be in fellowship

THE KICKER

What these traditional religious steps imply about God and You

• A conditional God
• A God of expectations and demands
• A God who is never satisfied with you
• His grace is never secure since it has requirements
• You will never be worthy since you always have to do something for God in order to get something from God
• Anytime you think you are experiencing His grace there will always be the conscious or subconscious understanding that you are not worthy of such favor
• There is really no rest in God because there is always something you have to do since you are just a sinner and always in need of forgiveness
• Hence be on your guard – He is watching you

My goodness, how could you ever draw close to God, let alone stay there?!!!

Religion preaches that grace is a gift and uses the scripture “we are saved by grace, and not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8 ) But, reflecting upon how you get grace according to religious teaching and considering their implications about God – grace is not a gift at all – there are strings attached.

Dig In
• Man’s grace has strings attached. God’s true grace has no strings attached. e.g. Were there strings attached to the prodigal son’s big shindig? Were there strings attached to the elder son’s invitation to join in on his brother’s ‘undeserved’ party? (Lk 15:22-24, 28)
• Religion is such a ‘downer’. Jesus came to show us how ‘up’ we really are. He made the ‘up’ all possible before time began (2Tim 1:9,10 Rev 13:8) and has freely given it to us all. (Lk 12:32 2Cor 5:19)
• Have you ever noticed that none of Paul’s letters tell you to ask for God’s forgiveness? Have you noticed that Paul never did repent of His sins, ask God to forgive Him, and ask Jesus to be His Savior? Remember, Paul got free from all the religious requirements he was taught and lived by because he received a revelation of true grace. (Gal 1:12)

P.S. Next post will discuss when/where do you get grace and why do you need grace – according to religion.

Does Religion Explain Grace Accurately?

Ever wonder about grace?

• How do you get grace?
• Where does grace come from?
• Who gets grace?
• When do you get grace?
• What does grace REALLY mean?

I have been purposefully pondering grace for weeks now and discovering some surprising things in scripture about it. My dilemma – too much to share at once!

Hence, a series on exposing the misunderstandings of the how, where, who, when, what of grace – then concluding with scriptural clarity to explain true grace. I realize several of these posts will be offensive to some, but if you hear me out through this series, you just might welcome the slaying of some sacred cows that you had no idea were such.

If you have grown up in religious Christianity you may identify with some of the typical explanations of grace below. But, have you ever thought past those religious meanings to their implications about who God is?

Traditional Religious Christian explanation of graceReligion explains Grace

1) God’s unmerited favor
2) Getting what you don’t deserve (of course mercy is then defined as “not getting what you deserve”!)
3) God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Are these definitions true and accurate about grace? NO!

Let’s examine religion’s explanations and implications.

According to the dictionary
favor – has to do with approval; preferential treatment; a kind or obliging act freely granted
unmerited – not deserved
deserve – you are qualified for or have a claim because of actions, qualities, or situation

In essence religion is saying – you don’t deserve any approval or kind act by God. You are not qualified or have any claim to receive His approval, but in spite of that He will oblige you with kindness. After all, remember you are a “wretch” (think “Amazing Grace” song).

Religion’s acronym for grace – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”

Not sure who came up with this, but it is catchy, easy to remember, and recite. At the surface it seems appropriate.

However, what does this really say about you and God?

What are God’s riches? What is Christ’s expense?

The ‘riches’ are the riches of His love? The ‘expense’ is Jesus’ horrific death on the cross?

Does that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? Or does it make you feel guilty? How about, it makes you feel like an awful rotten person when you consider what Jesus had to do for you – you wretched person, you.

Does God want you to feel guilty? Does God want you to feel miserable about what your rottenness made God have Jesus do? Does God want you to be remorseful and regretful about what your sin did to Jesus’ life? No, no, no.

Is this what grace is about? NO!

Dig In
• Have you ever thought about the ‘pat answers’ you have been taught?
• Have you ever considered those ‘pat answers’ from religion just might be wrong?
• Is grace really undeserving, or is it something way beyond religion’s grasp?

P.S. Next post – “How you get grace” according to traditional religious Christianity.

What Did Jesus Mean Go and Sin No More?

Jesus’ last words to the woman caught in adultery were, “Go and sin no more.”

What in the world did He mean?

Before we get to that let’s review a few key points of Jesus’ actions from the post/video “Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

Jesus Stoops for the Woman Caught in Adultery

Jesus stooped down – Jn 8:6,8

  • ‘stooped’ – Greek bend, bow the head
  • He put Himself in a weak position
  • Jesus became vulnerable
  • made Himself lower than the woman caught in adultery, thereby making her above Him (remember He came to lift us up to our original exalted position in Him – Eph ??? 2:4-6
  • He was identifying with the woman who was being shamed, put down, and accused
  • by bowing His head in essence He was cowering, like one would do if fearful and ready to be harmed. He was identifying with this woman.
  • He even put Himself lower than the accusers and essentially implying stone Me! I will take the blows for all your accusations towards her.

Jesus wrote on the ground  – Jn 8:6,8

  • Greek ‘on’ – properly, into – literally ‘motion into which implying penetration’, union, to a particular purpose or result
  • by writing in the dirt He was prophetically showing His oneness with humanity. The Creator of mankind became flesh and penetrated the dirt from whence we came. A prophetic union had taken place!
  • Getting His hand ‘dirty’ showed He had no aversion to mankind.
  • Greek for ‘ground’ means earth, soil, land, inhabitants of a region. It is also the same word used to describe Adam/mankind, i.e. “of the earth” (1Cor 15:47)

Jesus raised Himself up – Jn 8:7,10

  • ‘raised’ – Greek raised Myself, look up, am elated
  • a picture of His resurrection after He had stooped to identify with mankind
  • in raising Himself up Jesus got face to face, eye to eye – not only with the accusers the first time, but then with the woman caught in adultery. In those connections He was demonstrating to them their worth, their true identity, and the relational essence of their being with God.
  • a picture of the Godhead’s elation over the restoration and reconciliation that They knew was coming. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Note: when Jesus called her ‘Woman’, He was using a word that also means wife or my lady.  He was referring to her with respect. There is even an implication of the Bride of Christ with this word.

 Religion’sGo and sin no more’ meaning

  • Sober up.
  • Don’t you dare blow it again.
  • I have high expectations of you, in fact I demand perfection.
  • You need to try harder.
  • Don’t disappoint Me.
  • For all I’ve done for you, now you owe Me.
  • I don’t condemn you this time, but if there is a next time don’t expect such leniency.
  • It’s moral behavior I want, so be good.

Remember – Jesus prefaced “Go and sin no more” with “Neither do I condemn you.”

 Neither in the Greek is a big word. It means – neither indeed, not even, moreover not. It introduces a statement whose negation totally invalidates and rules out the statement that precedes it.

In other words, Jesus is saying ‘no condemnation allowed from anyone’ – even though the law says there should be condemning consequences, even death!

Jesus’ ‘Go and sin no more’ meaning

Therefore My lady –

go (Greek – move from one destination to another, depart from here and reach a particular destination)

and (indeed, even, moreover, also)

from (away from)

now (just at hand, immediately, now in light of what has gone before)

no more (no longer)

sin (without a part, a share; properly having no share in, without substance or form)

My loose translation based on insight into the Greek words:

‘My lady, your destination is not to be stoned, you have a better destination. Go away from what is at hand. Go away from what just transpired with all its accusations and legal requirements. You have a particular destination to reach so move to it. Leave the past behind. No longer be without your part and share of what I have for you. Stop believing lies about yourself. Repent, change your way of thinking. No longer stoop to a lesser identity. I did not make you to be formless but to have substance – to have significance, value, respect. Be who you really are! You belong and we are one! I rose up to show you how elated I am over you. So go your way, free to be all I made you to be. I made you for fullness of being – being My fullness in your own unique way!’

Can you just imagine the transformation that happened to that woman? She encountered the God of the universe, the God whose name the religious people would not even pronounce, the God who looked just like her – looking her in the face, eyes to eyes – saying in essence I love you, I value you, never will I condemn you, go and be who you really are.

Hmm, did she walk away with her head held high, a smile on her face, a skip in her step, and her eyes bright with who she really was? I’m thinkin’ so. She just faced truth and heard truth that set her free – free indeed! Gosh, imagine what all those accusers and onlookers thought of that?!

 Dig In

  • No matter what wrongs you do or mistakes you make, God will never ever condemn you. He specifically came to show you how valuable you are to Him, that you have always been precious, and never deserving of condemnation and judgment.  By the way – sin was judged, not mankind. (Jn 3:17  Jer 31:3  Heb 9:26  Heb 10:10)
  • You are never stuck in sin. Begin to realize He lifted you out of that formless place. Go and grow in revelation of the beauty of your being that began before time began – and BE IT! (1Tim 1:9,10)
  • Jesus ‘stooped’ below us in order to ‘raise’ us up to His level. Oh the glory of His inheritance in us! (Rom 4:25  Eph 2:6  Eph 1:18)

Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

In scripture, when something is repeated two or three times, that means we need to pay attention. It is important. Take heed. Ponder.

Jesus repeated three actions TWO times concerning the woman caught in adultery as she had to stand before her accusers.

  • stooped down
  • wrote on the ground
  • raised Himself up

Looks like we need to pay attention!

There is HUGE meaning and significance to His, what I call, prophetic actions. Out of all my pondering, these past few weeks over His actions in this story with the adulterous woman, I was amazed to discover truths about our true identity and the Good News.

You know, if we begin to realize how much He is for us, how He came to show us who we really are, that He has never changed His mind about us, and get free from the ‘traditions of the elders’ (AKA religious tradition) – then we will begin to see this wondrous pattern of unconditional eternal love.

Click here for the video to see and hear for yourself what Jesus was saying by His actions. You will be wowed!


Dig In

  • Jesus knows the times when we were brought low. Please realize, He will get even lower than us, because He came to lift us up. We were always made to be lifted up and highly valued.
  • Jesus has nothing but terms of endearment about us, even in the midst of our blowing it. Open your heart to the truth of who you really are.
  • Don’t let accusers define you. Only God’s evaluation of you counts. Come into the revelation of His elation over you! Certainty of this is part of fullness.

P.S. The next post will explain what Jesus truly meant when He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”