Jesus Without Religion
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ.
Week after week “I” gave God all that my flesh would allow me to.
“I” served on committees at church. “I” taught Sunday School. “I” gave until it hurt. “I” tried it all, but I always felt distant from God, and while I believed in Jesus I never felt secure. I knew my struggles and I knew that God saw them too. Sometimes “I” looked with lust. Sometimes “I” drank one more beer than I should have. Other times “I” struggled to forgive people. Most times “I” just didn’t feel like reading the bible – and only learned from what was coming out of the pulpit, which turned out to be part of my problem. The harder I tried the more I saw how “I” fell short. The problem was I thought my closeness with God was directly tied into “I” and because of it I missed who it was really about. “Jesus”
Then one day while reading my bible I came across Galatians 5:18 which would change my life forever.
The passage read “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Immediately I thought “I must be misunderstanding this verse. Of course we’re under law. If not, then surely I would have heard it from the many preachers I have heard over the years”. So of course my next step was to head back to the church building to get set straight on what it really meant. It seemed everyone I talked to agreed I misunderstood, and offered advise like even though we were saved the law still is our guide. It teaches us, they said. It keeps us from sinning. Of course when looking at it through religion it all made sense. So while accepting the idea that I was in fact still under law I remained in bondage and continually feeling like a horrible sinner (no matter how hard I tried) and thus feeling distant from God.
By the grace and kindness of God, I stumbled upon a few other verses like Gal 3:13
”God redeemed us from the curse of the law”, and Rom 5:20 – ”The law came in that sin would increase”, Rom 10:4 – “for Christ is the end of the law for everyone who believes”. Turns out there are verses likes these littered throughout the new testament. God revealed truth and in an instant my eyes opened wider than ever before. I still had one problem. Religion taught me If I am free from law then that’s a license to sin and that’s just saying God doesn’t care about sin. The more I talked about our freedom in Christ and freedom from the law the more I was reminded by my religious peers about that license. Part of me agreed (at the time) and thought to myself that “doesn’t total freedom and total forgiveness no matter what our behavior looks like just open the door to doing what ever we want to do?” Doesn’t it motivate us to enter the Guinness Word Records for sin? And thankfully I found the answer to this question in scripture too!
It turns out, as is true with most Christians, I was missing the second part of the Gospel.
It turns out, as is true with most Christians, I was missing the second part of the Gospel. I was only looking at Jesus’ death and how His blood forgave the sins of all that would believe in Him. But there was a second part to the gospel message. Jesus was resurrected! Finally, I found the answer. Through our faith we were not only forgiven of our sins, but the resurrection of Christ fulfilled an old testament promise seen in Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will give you a new heart with new desires” . In others words I discovered that we don’t need the law to guide us because we have Gods Spirit, living in us, to guide and council us, and He will never lead us to sin – though we all stumble in many ways (James 3:2).
You see, our closeness with God is not a behavior issue.
You see, our closeness with God is not a behavior issue. It’s a birth issue. It’s who you’re in. Dead in Adam, or alive in Christ. And while the death and blood of Jesus was full payment for our sins we needed something else. We needed life. Otherwise we’d just be forgiven sinners still dead in Adam. In baptism we celebrate it, and we still seem to miss it. Yes, we were buried with Christ, but we were raised with Him (Col 2:12) and made alive with Him (Col 2:13). The resurrection of Christ gave us that NEW LIFE, and changed our desires, and no amount of forgiveness is going to make our newly created selves sin more.
1 Peter 1:3
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”
Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
The law is not easy or light and keeps us in bondage and feeling distant from God. Jesus is not only the answer for salvation, but also for daily living, avoiding sin, and He alone is our tutor, not the law.
God promised to those that believe that He would remember our sins no more, He washed them away. He said if we are unfaithful He will remain faithful. He said he who believes is NOT judged (John 3:18).
Yes, God never changes. However, the covenant did. There’s the old (law) and there’s the new (grace) and Hebrews 8 makes clear the new is NOT like the old and by calling this one “new” He has made the first one obsolete.
Will we at JesusWithoutReligion.com get it wrong sometimes?
I assume so, but as Paul said in Phil 1:18 though Christ may be preached with true or false motives, it really didn’t matter as long as Christ is preached. We teach from our hearts as we believe Christ has led us, and no matter what, Jesus will always be at the core of our teaching. We believe Gods grace and kindness toward us is immeasurable and we want to see believers soak in it.
That’s why this website was started. To share the gospel in its fullness. To free people from religious bondage. To share the love and kindness of Gods grace. To teach it’s all about Jesus, without religion.