Home > Grace, Legalism, Theology > “God Without Religion” by Andrew Farley

“God Without Religion” by Andrew Farley

We cannot fathom the depth or breadth of God’s love for us. There is a movement afoot among a few churches that preach the reality of that love. They focus on the New Covenant and the earth shaking change that covenant has made available to believers. Take a look here for a great example (http://www.lifejourneyva.com/#/welcome).

Our rebirth is real. It changes who we are. It joins our spirit with God’s Spirit. “Christ in you the hope of glory.” We are the righteousness of God, sanctified and holy in Christ. This new reality frees us from the bonds of the Old Covenant law, both ceremonial and moral. The law has done its job by demonstrating our inability to achieve righteousness by our own efforts. The law showed us the character of God and when Jesus came, he pressed the law’s demands way beyond our reach. The only way we can express God’s character to those around us is by God Himself indwelling us and expressing Himself through us. To dwell in us God had to deal with Sin (capital S). Christ died and paid the price for the sins of the whole world in an act of love unlike any human love we can imagine. Through the cross Jesus forgave us all our sins and broke the bonds of the power of Sin in our lives. We live free from the law. In our inner being we are free from Sin and sanctified in Christ.

Unfortunately, this new creature in Christ is bound to the old physical and emotional self, Paul calls it our flesh, that clings to its old patterns of dealing with the stress of living in this world. This reality causes confusion. I am pure and holy in my inner being, but I commit acts of sin in my flesh. I am joined with God in spirit, but that does not seem as real to me as what my senses and emotions tell me. God’s grace has set me free from the law, but I cling to it because it is more tangible and real to me than the new life that is in me. In fact, it is frightening to think that I have no rules to follow, no real obligations, and no ceremonies to perform. God offers rest while I cling to works.

I find solace in my religion and in my system of belief. I am saved by God’s grace but my works sanctify me. Our churches, doctrines, preaching and teaching all lend themselves to promoting a sanctification of works that is simply not the gospel of the New Testament. Our churches promote religion and religion binds us to futile efforts that enslave us to law and traditions that have nothing to do with Christ’s life in us. Andrew Farley in his book, “God Without Religion” deals with a series of typical ways in which we are pressed into a works religion filled with law. It seems the church is incapable of presenting the true Gospel. Paul warned about diluting the Gospel with the law in Galatians. Simply put it cannot be done. Mixing law with the New Covenant simply binds you to old covenant law keeping and the death it produces in our lives.

I was happy to see that “God Without Religion” dared to take on the doctrine of election/predestination. I think this was the best section in the book. Andrew Farley does a good job of identifying the plural in Roman’s and in Ephesians making the case that what was predestined was the coming into the kingdom of the Gentiles, a total shock to the Jews. The Gentiles who knew no law were offered the same righteous standing as the Jews who futilely clung to their law. It is interesting to me that today’s church wants to press believers back into the Jewish fold.

If you dare to be free from your works based religion, then this book is a good place to start.

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