Why is it, so it seems, that people who have lived their carnal lives to an extreme in one direction, tend to move all the way to the other extreme to seek salvation – exchanging one hard yoke for another?
For instance, I have seen many people who were so caught up into drugs, sex, various crimes and other addictive behaviors that held them captive, only to be ‘set free’ by some man-made doctrine that burdens them conversely with another hard yoke. They try to follow the doctrine to the letter in their new-found religion as if they are earning brownie points. The abundant life that Jesus offers is stifled. Did the thief on the cross have time to go through some legalistic ritual? No! He confessed Jesus, and Jesus gave him the promise of paradise right there on the spot.
Those same people, when they encounter someone who is not following what they believe, will then tend to judge. Salvation is free; not earned. The Book of John [8:36 NIV] says, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ Romans 11:6 reads: ‘And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.’ Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
As believers in Christ we are called upon to ‘work out our salvation’ which is our ‘reasonable service.’ God desires to fellowship with us. Isn’t it reasonable to spend time with the one who created us? How do we do that? By sacrificing our time and reading His word – the Bible. We’re invited to an intimate relationship with Jesus – the Word who became flesh [Ref: John 1].
As I’ve written before, if you don’t bring your own sacrifice to the temple, you may be sold anything [Ref: John 2]. Read the word for yourself. We are God’s temple. The church building is where we go to fellowship and encourage one another in the faith, and to hear God’s word from those who are anointed to teach and preach.
Within our own circle of influence, those of us who feed on the gospel message and are able to impart it in love to others are in fact ministers. Do you have a sacrifice to bring to the temple?