Yes the Gospel is timeless and unchanging, yet it must be set free to be personal and self-revelatory along the way. It would do the current older generation to remember that the way they know the church to be (and generally think it should forever remain) is not how it’s always been. In fact, there were those before them that would now see today’s church structure as horribly awry. “Just As I Am” religion, although seemingly ancient, is relatively new in the grand timeline that is Christianity.
Getting back to my main point, before I venture too far off, the Body of Christ need not strain and strive so hard to preserve and pass on traditions and denominational doctrines. They will all eventually die off and disappear into religious oblivion. Many fail to realize that this church age as we know will in fact come to an end. To me, that makes such drastic efforts to maintain religious practices at all costs such a tragic error. We must spend our time spurring one another on to good works. We should spend our time, efforts and our money on things that foster spiritual relationships more so than promoting buildings, programs and traditions. I fully realize that people, a lot of people, will go to their graves clenching denominational, old-time religion. Some of my family members that I love dearly will even do so. It’s just the way it is. But what this generation needs is to see those who claim to know this mysterious God of the ages live out a personal lifestyle of knowing Him. They, nor I, care about how you can quote all of the books of the Bible in order or give us your Sunday School attendance count from last week. What clothes you wear or how polite you are on Sunday mornings just simply has no relation whatsoever to one’s walk with Christ. What has the Spirit spoken to you this week? What miracle have you been blessed to be a part of in your lifetime? How are you putting others above yourself? Why do you believe what you do and what are you doing daily to improve the areas in your life that are lacking faith? Has Christ become your entire identity and radically changed your absolute everything? Most importantly, are you continually falling in love with the Saviour of your soul?
Let’s take a moment to examine briefly the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21. Jesus, addressing the religious elite of His day as they questioned Him (as usual) stated, “even the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.” In the parable, one son commits to go work in his father’s vineyard yet didn’t go. The other, when asked to also go work, says no but is filled with regret and goes out to work the fields as the father requested. The latter, Jesus states, is the one who did the will of his father. Likewise, spiritually speaking, vast multitudes have, with their mouths, stated that they’ll be about their Father’s business, yet have never left the comfort of their spiritual lazy-boy. Simply stated, this displeases the Lord and these are found in disbelief, with no remorse (vs. 32). Let us not be ones who, as the son, make empty commitments with no follow-through in keeping them. May we not allow religious practices to be all that we’re found doing when the Master comes. Religion, masquerading as holiness and regeneration may fool many a man, but the Lord doesn’t see as you and I - He sees the heart of a man. He sees your heart. Again, time and time again we see Jesus addressing those who were considered the holiest men on the earth at that time as if they knew nothing of the kingdom of God. We must take notice of this recurring theme throughout Scripture. What men see and brand as Christianity in our day may in fact be nothing more than a façade built with bricks of pride and elitism, housed in identities that are rooted in carnality.