Yesterday, I had the privilege of participating in a small way in a person’s journey through a door, a door that is leading this person away from a “religious mindset” in which she grew up and into a place where she now is grasping and understanding to a deeper level than ever before what the gospel is all about.
This is a doorway I walked through about 4 years ago. Up to that point, though I may have said differently, in practice I was displaying that the relationship with God through Jesus was driven through striving and performance. In practice, but not in words, I was teaching that the gospel was wrapped up in religion. I saw and understood the gospel through a “performance lens” rather than a “being lens.”
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the teaching of Graham Cooke by a friend and fellow pastor that, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-19, God “opened the eyes of [my] heart so that [I} [would] know what is the hope of His calling, what is the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power unto [me] who is believing, according to the energizing of the dominion of his might.” All of a sudden, I saw the gospel in a whole new light which unlocked a depth to it that I never dreamed possible.
The true gospel is not about performance (that’s religion); it’s about being. The true gospel is not about striving (that’s religion); it’s about nature. The true gospel is not about earning (that’s religion); it’s about already having received up front all the blessings possible in the heavenlies through Christ (Eph 1:3). The true gospel is not about working or trying harder to be better than yesterday (that’s religion); it’s about realizing and relishing in who God has already declared me to be. The true gospel is not about wondering what God thinks about me (that’s religion); it’s about delighting in Him and who He is for me because He is my Abba.
Over the past 4 years, as I have gone deeper in my understanding of the true nature of the gospel, I have examined the common ways the gospel and the rest of Scripture is taught and preached. And I have to admit, it is much more common for me to see it wrapped up, in some way, in a cloak or veneer of religion. That is why I have gone to great lengths to make sure that my teaching is nothing but the pure and unadulterated gospel.
I’m excited for this person. She told me that she has so many things swirling about in her head that she cannot grasp it all and it is overwhelming. I told her, from my own experience, it is and would be, but that as she goes deeper into that deep understanding of the gospel found on the other side of that door, she will be amazed and overjoyed at what she now experiences in her relationship with her heavenly Father.
Oh how I pray that everyone would walk through that door.