Taking the leap to freedom from guilt-based religion

Many religious people live their lives by the Scriptures. So why is the fruit of their lives  sometimes legalism and guilt rather than life?  They feel like they continually fall short of God's standards for their lives. 

Jesus said to the religious people of his day, "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!  Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. (John 5:39-40)" Jesus is the source of life, not the Bible. But the Bible points us continually to Jesus.  We find him there.

Is our relationship with the Bible or with Jesus?

Does the written word bring life or death? Several people have commented on the last couple of posts that they found freedom from legalism and guilt-based religion through their study of the Scriptures.  If we truly believe what the Scriptures say we can take the leap to the freedom of living by the Spirit.

Man leaping over chasm freedom

The Bible is very plain. The Old Covenant has ended.

Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in (Luke 16:16)."

The old covenant is obsolete (Heb 8:13). Until Jesus came, people's only hope of salvation was through keeping the letter of the law. Now we are under a new covenant. With our sins forgiven through Christ's death on the cross, we have a relationship with God and are not led any longer by written laws but by the Spirit.

He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life." (2 cor 3:6)

Under this New Covenant, the law is written on our hearts.(Heb 8:8-12)  Now it's natural for us to live a life pleasing to God.

In the context of the New Covenant, 2 cor 3:17  says this: 

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

 And Romans 7:6:

But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

So we have a choice: we can live by the law or we can live by the Spirit. I've made my choice. How about you?

How did you come to make that choice?

9 thoughts on “Taking the leap to freedom from guilt-based religion”

  1. When I came to the conclusion that you can not contain God within anything, including the Bible, I felt free from being banged over the head with the age old 66 books of the Bible that are the inerrant and complete word of God syndrome of so many.
    If you want pure light, you go to the source, not to any of the reflections.
    Understand the SPIRIT on the words in the Bible set me free initially. Bust as with the wind, you hear it but not see it and you know not where it comes from or where it goes – so is the Spirit!

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  2. Thank you for this article, what freedom we have in Jesus Christ, and one of those beautiful freedoms is freedom form Religion. He cried it is FINISHED!!

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  3. Hi Felicity, thanks for alerting me to this series of blogs…I’ve been sick and at work this week. I’ve skim read and am about to read properly, time permitting this weekend. My first reaction is mixed (you are speaking to hippy/only listened to God for years child here! My journey has been a bit different). I have some worries, even some fears, although I believe foundationally that new life is by faith..and have lived that way…but do any of us completely achieve it in all areas? The Holy Spirit works on that continually. I’ll read and then share as appropriate and would be interested in discussion.

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  4. I believe my choice or transformation has been slow. I spent 17 years of my walk with Christ in an Evangelical system and while I appreciated a lot of the good things I learned, I am realizing that I also learned an overall theme of oppression. Feeling guilt for “doing things wrong”, feeling guilty for my thoughts on submission, and realizing that in the end, those that REALLY represented Jesus to me, were not those in my church. And, I watched this church go through an ugly split and it was something that really turned me off to how these people behaved and treated one another. So, I believe I’ve always made a choice to listen to the Spirit as best I can, but lately it has been with less judgment and more grace. My new church has a female and male as co-pastors and I love it. Slowly, I have seen these past oppressive things fall away. It has felt very FREEING. However, I still believe I have a ways to go. I keep feeling that pull back to old systems and I am praying I just keep moving towards Him and what He is calling us to as we walk by His Spirit! Thanks for the post and all you do for freeing His Children!

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