Religious indifferentism assumes that it is immaterial to God how he is served. It deprives him of the right to determine the manner of his service; in any case it postulates that God has not prescribed the manner of his service. …Factually and objectively, however, nothing is indifferent, neither in nature, nor in the state, nor in science and art. All things, even the most humble, have their specific place and meaning in the context of the whole. Human beings are indifferent only to what they do not, or do not sufficiently, know: they automatically assess and appreciate what they do know. God, who knows all things, is not indifferent to anything. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics
The big question in religion is always: what must I do to be saved? In religion, what people pursue is something no lust or sensual pleasure, no science or art, no human or angel, something not even the whole world can give them: unperturbable happiness, eternal life, communion with God. But if this is the case, then again revelation is absolutely necessary; revelation, then, has to be the foundation of religion. —Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics
A people may follow Christ far for base ends, as these went after him beyond sea for loaves. A man’s belly will carry him a great way in religion; yea, a man’s belly will make him venture far for Christ.
Note again, They are not feigning compliments, but gracious intentions, that crown the work in the eye of Christ; or thus, it is not the toil and business of professors, but their love to him, that makes him approve of them.
Note again, When men shall look for friendly entertainment at Christ’s hand, if their hearts be rotten, even then will they meet with a check and rebuke. “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”
Yet observe again, He doth not refuse to give, even to these, good counsel: he bids them labour for the meat that endureth to eternal life. Oh! how willingly would Jesus Christ have even those professors that come to him with pretences only, come to him sincerely, that they may be saved. -John Bunyan, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ
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.