"I haven't done such things for years, but I still find myself giving in to the irresistible temptation that if something's going to be done right, I have to do it myself".
Mike Horton - Rebels with a cause.
It's almost everywhere you look these days.
On pavements and streets, in roadside hedges or blowing around in the country...
and in People's heads.
'I'm pretty OK', the thinking goes,
'in fact I'm probably better than just OK - actually quite decent most of the time, and occasionally even devout, so I can't really be that wide of the mark when it comes to what's needed to be truly good, even holy... I just need a little something - let's call it grace - every now and then, to give me a boost - a bit of a re-charge, and the (temple, shrine, therapy... insert what's most appropriate) I occasionally frequent and it's devotions suit just fine for that, so I'm good'.
The presumptions we can make, and the prevalence of the amenities/apparatus that panders to this in our times are as pervasive as trash on the streets.
Whatever it's particular slogan, this delusion leaves us woefully distant from the truth of what and who we really are - one look at the death of Jesus Christ and you are starkly reminded of the horror of our true situation; so far from God that He Himself had to come and give Himself to such an emptying to rescue us beleaguered, beguiled wretches from our perishing end.
The message of Christianity stands in stark contrast to all religion.
God loves us enough to give His Son to us, who saves us when we trust only in His unmerited rescue from the plight of pulling ourselves up to being "good enough". Everything else, notes Jesus, will sell us short, leave us in darkness, and lead to a bitter end.
Being 'born again' is clearly, first, about believing and trusting in what He spells out here, and being deceived (as Paul goes on to show to the Galatians) is to allow ourselves to move away from this back towards our self-baked piety.
You cannot have the freedom that Christ brings if you continue to hold on to the 'rightness' or 'value' of your own merits.
Paul tells us that he had come to see that he could only count his own zeal, devotion, virtues and merits as nothing more than rubbish - worthless, in order that he might apprehend the splendor and wonder of the gift of Jesus Christ and the singularly sufficient rescue He brings (Philippians 3: 7-9).
Religion is about sprucing up a corpse.
Christianity is about burying the dead in order that they can be raised to a newness of life that is truly outside of us.
We need to stop adorning ourselves in garbage, and become firmly anchored to the only sure and certain hope for all men and women forever -
it is Christ alone who is able to save to the uttermost.