Matthew 12:1-14 & Running by Religion

Most men don’t run from religion, they run by “religion” (please understand the nuanced, pejorative way I am using the word in contrast to true religion). Man’s preferred way to oppose God and His saving grace in Christ is by religion. The more truth mixed with this religion, the more deadly. The Pharisees, unlike the prostitutes, thought they were religious. Religion is the inoculation that causes one to cry out, “Lord, Lord, did we not…!”

What is “religion” in this pejorative sense? Religion is spelled, “d-o”. It’s about what you do. In contrast Christianity is spelled “d-o-n-e”.  It’s about what Jesus has done. Religion is about a law you keep; Christianity is about a grace God gives. Religion builds pride and is for the “wise and understanding”; Christianity humbles and is for “little children”. In religion we ascend to heaven; in Christianity God descends to earth.

Sabbath, that is rest, is not something we work to achieve. Sabbath, for fallen man, has always flowed from redemption (cf. Deuteronomy 5:12-15). This is why the Sabbath is to be a delight (Isaiah 58:13-14); a day of rest and not a burden. We rest because He worked.

Jesus was born of a virgin, He took on human flesh, fully God and fully man He was the God-man; remaining what He was (God), He became what He was not (man). As the God-man He worked; He perfectly kept the law fulfilling all righteousness for us. His obedience climaxed in His willingly going to the cross and drinking the cup of the Father’s wrath against our sins down to the dregs. Now because of His work we have Sabbath.

So in one sense I plead with you to run from religion, that is, run from a reliance on your own good works to achieve any kind of eternal rest. Yes, don’t run by religion, but run from religion. Run from reliance in your good works which are as filthy rags and rely wholly on His good works.

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