The Gospel versus man-made religion

by JAMES NORIEGA Contributing Writer
| January 8, 2021 1:00 AM

In man-made religion, man holds himself to his own standards. But simply exerting willpower to achieve moral goals leads to self-righteousness. And when we fall short of our standards we become insecure.

Religion says, “I must earn God’s grace by my good works and by my own efforts.”

Gospel says, “I am fully justified before God, and yet I sin. God continues to pour out His grace and that gives me confidence to live out the likeness of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 4:7-18).

Religion says, “When I suffer, my works must have failed me.”

Gospel says, “I can trust God that all things work together for good because I am included in His purpose (Romans 8:28). God is enough in the midst of my suffering.”

Religion says, “I find my own worth in my own morality.”

Gospel says, “My worth is in Jesus sent by God through the Holy Spirit.” (Colossians 1:27-28).

Religion says, “My obedience gets me accepted.”

Gospel says, “I am accepted by the unconditional love of God so that I can be obedient.” (1 John 5:3).

Religion says, “Sin is a reminder of how bad I am.”

Gospel says, “My sin reminds me of how good God is, by loving me at my worst. When I am at my worst, He is at His best. (Romans 5:10). I obey out of His grace.”

Religion says, “Try to be a better person.”

Gospel says, “The blood of Christ made us Christians. It is by no works of our own. Our good or bad behavior does not make us more or less a Christian.” (Romans 3:21-26). 

James Noriega is the executive director of Bonner Gospel Mission.