When God started to make things clear to me (or when I finally started to listen to Him) about His unconditional love and grace, my first reaction was over-reaction. I was angry at the religion. I wanted to ask those who deceive the people with legalism, why they do that? I wanted to fight the heresy they teach. I was annoyed by the processed sermons they preach. I became intolerant towards legalism. I wanted to be in the middle of it and fight it. I tried, tried and tried. I was treated as someone deceived by a ‘bad theology’. I was told that ‘grace alone’ is dangerous. I was asked to read the ‘what we believe’ page of their website. I was a subject of their prayer, so that God’s wrath won’t fall up on me. I was told that the New Covenant is a continuation of Old Covenant. Finally it came to a point where either they will excommunicate me, or I should stop fighting. Then finally I left by my own.
Like Aida said in her blog, grace really is disruptive . It made my life upside down. It made disruption in my own life and in the life of the ones around me. It is so very difficult to hide the grace of God.
Sure enough, I wasn’t mature enough to take it lightly about fighting legalism with my own energy. I felt deceived for many years. I was seeing church as an entity where people workout in a spiritual gymnasium. I thought, without such a place to ‘work out’ we become nonspiritual. I couldn't think of a spiritual life without it. There I have seen people who think the church-potatoes are more spiritual. People who think skipping a meeting is a sin. Everybody operating on the basis of fear while struggling to put up a peace smile on their faces. People who fear demons, pastors, unbelievers and pretty much everything other than the ones in their own ‘sect’. Sorry if it sounds like a cult. It's not intentional.
The question is should we fight it? I think there is a difference in fighting legalism and opposing legalism. Fighting can produce reformation but ultimately the result could be just another system. We don’t want to replace one system for another. I respect the historical reformations but at the same time wondering if it just erupted another system. Instead of Cathedrals, now we have churches (assemblies, chapel, etc). I am tempted to fight it but it could also mean that it is still controlling me. Fighting could be a sign that I am still in it. Shouldn't we just rest in the all sufficiency of His grace? And if legalism come in our way, just oppose it? I don't mean being inactive. In fact I have never seen a person who is walking in grace being inactive.
'Systems' are generated from fear and it tries to give people a false sense of security. But if there is a bit of fear, the love is not perfected. We can’t perfect in love, unless we see the One who loved us while we were yet sinners.
Systems/Organizations miss the majors and they end up concentrating on the minors. One of the most wonderful Bible study advice I have ever received is – majoring in majors as opposed to majoring in minors. Minors such as building, music, dress, programs, meetings, committees as opposed to the majors such as Jesus, Grace, Faith, Love, Hope, Forgiveness, Acceptance, Discipleship.
Is it time to rethink church? Is it time to rethink community? Is it time to rethink fellowship? Does it have to be organized? Does it have to be planned? Does it have to be formal?
In a hard way I am learning that we can be spiritual without the organ playing and lights dim. I was so used to it and it required a lot of unlearning. I am still in the process of unlearning. Religion has such a power to bind us. It never ever ever can set us free. Music don’t set us free, programs don’t set us free, miracles don't set us free,... But it is THE truth that truly set us free!
I am no more bound in the four walls of religion. Thank you Jesus! I am in a risky ocean of Grace. Yes it is risky, disruptive, dangerous but it is worth taking that risk. Not that I was courageous to take such a risk, but it was Him doing it, it was Him who showed me His radical grace, it was Him who loved me perfectly while I was still a sinner. There is a lot more to explore in this great ocean, there is excitement, there are wonders and miracles. (Warning:There is also pain involved in the process of walking by faith). But it is sweet, it is so freeing, it is so securing in His love. Are you ready to dive in, leaving the securities of your religion?