Predictable Religion vs The Unpredictable Spirit of God
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…" This verse is often quoted, but it usually stops there. Read the rest of the verse: "...who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1 One can quickly discern those who are in Christ Jesus, versus those who walk in the flesh. When one is "born again," he is so filled with the Spirit of God that it's all he thinks of, and everything in his life centers around the love of the things of God, not the love of religion, but love of truth. This is not by effort, it's not even by one's will, it is the natural manifestation of the Spirit of God within the born-again person. "For those who live according to the flesh SET THEIR MINDS on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." Romans 8:5 Their minds are set on the things of the Spirit, but not on the love of religion. Religion is a dead word. Religions teach you rites and rituals. Religions teach you to do good works as a means of salvation. One who does good works feels that he's a good person because of the good works he does. If being "good" were the way of salvation, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ would have been unnecessary. The words "religion" and "truth" are diametrically opposed to each other. A person whose mind is on the things of the Spirit of God becomes prompted by that Holy Spirit to do good works NOT from a religious motive, but as prompted by the Spirit of God; and his works prompted by the Holy Spirit will be unpredictable: "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. SO IS EVERYONE WHO IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT.” John 3:8 To those born of the Spirit of God, the leading of the Holy Spirit will prompt him to action here and there, not in rituals but in unpredictable works of love, one day here, one day there because "you cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes." It's not set. It's not a ritual. It's unpredictable. Joyfully so! Religion is Spirit-less. Rites and rituals are Spirit-less. Works are useless unless they're prompted by the Spirit of God. Otherwise they are "wood, hay, straw." "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will be made manifest;" 1 Corinthian 3:11-13 In other words, if one is not filled with the Spirit of God his works, though seeming to be "good," are vain, they are "wood, hay straw." But works that are led by the Spirit of God are works of "gold, silver, precious stones." They have an eternal value because they were prompted and led by the Spirit of God. So the question is: are you born again ...or are you practicing "religion?" Are your good works prompted by requirements of religion? Or are you being prompted by the Spirit of God dwelling within you? "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Romans 8:9 A religious person may not have the Spirit of Christ at all. Jesus said he must be born again. More: "Born Again" - What Does That Mean?