Good Friday: The performance Religion is FINISHED (or is it?)
How bout it? Is it o.k. to judge a book by its cover? Is it o.k. to judge people by the way the look? Ever? Really? What is your standard by which you believe someone is spiritual or righteous? When I was a kid that answer was based on hair length or maybe the kind of clothes a person chose to wear or even tattoo’s. In truth that hasn’t exactly changed. People love to judge people by the way others look. It is so easy to judge someone by the outside stuff. Did you know that right now, because of the pandemic is there a new social shaming going on? It’s called “Social Distancing Shaming” meaning of course, that if you are not following the rules, during this pandemic you will be shamed. I get it, I’m sure you do too.
But, what I’m talking about is something more sinister at play when it comes to the judging of people by their own set of external rules (the outside). For those that are trapped in their judgment of the externals, could it be because they themselves are stuck believing that God cares about the outside stuff? That God wrings His hands 24/7 about such things as looks, who isn’t dressed right, who isn’t clean cut, who isn’t wearing all the right threads? Does God really get vexed over such things? The scriptures say “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~1 Samuel 16.7
Of course, one might say, I get that, I know that stuff. But, the shaming from those that you would think know better and believe in the the high theological value of Good Friday seems to go in one part of their heart and out the other side. Oh yea, I know, I am one of those people that certain people love to judge. Yep, I’m imperfect, not a follower of their rules, not interested in being part of that stuff. What, this little blog is about goes much deeper than the outward stuff for sure.
So how did that get screwed up? It sure seems obvious to me that God is not one bit concerned about the outward appearance. The truth– broken people love to puff themselves up, even when they are merely looking down on others, which is who they are exactly like– that is indeed, humanity is completely depraved always looking for a way to somehow prove that we are good, we are getting better, that we really don’t need a Savior, that if we can clean up the outside, the inside will end up at least o.k.
The real issue in my mind is not so much about appearance, but about performance. You see, I know many, many people (myself included) that have spent many days, nights, wondering– “Am I good enough? Am I doing enough? Am I doing it right? Am I o.k.? Does God love me?” Its true, right? Maybe even you?
So you come to the Christ, the one that goes to the cross to take all of our sin on Him. Jesus suffers a brutal 40 lashes, He is mocked, He is executed, crucified on a cross to take all of the sin past, present and future on Him, He says it is finished, and that was not enough? Right? After all there has to be more to do. There has to be a way to earn His favor. There has to be a way to show Him you and I are worthy? Right? Wrong. Totally wrong, sick, false and actually a lie from Hell itself. No one can perform enough to be holy and accepted by the Father period. Can you say the word Pharisee? Jesus called them out often on their ideal, their false sense of holiness, their inability to perform.
Well? I know I am not always together. I don’t walk with God every minute. I know plenty of people that don’t do it 100%, 100% of the time. There are little lies, there is bad tudes, there are bad thoughts, there are many things that no one sees. Then there is the list that others love to place on others– do this and this and this and life will be perfect. You will be accepted (by them) Or if you do it like we do it, God will certainly love you. That is another false statement. (Beware of the old list and the new list)
Performance is not the standard for God. Righteousness is the standard. The Scripture says “there are none righteous, not one” So where does righteousness come from? How does one get to be righteous? There are those that love to pretend they are righteous by what they do or don’t do. That is called self deception, pride, even self righteousness. “All our works are filthy rags” So how is one righteous?
“Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” ~Galatians 3.11
“Clearly”? Really? Not to those that love to perform their “righteous acts and righteous judgments”. That is not clear at all. They have been muddied by their own desire to somehow out perform Jesus on the Cross and His rising from the dead. Somehow they actually believe regardless of what the scriptures teach that they can become righteous and even Holy by their performance.
If a person really is sick of the performance religion they find themselves living, they just need to look at the Scriptures for the truth– (and the truth will set you free) The truth is demonstrated by “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” I wonder if Abraham continually asked — am I good enough, what else must I do, I keep sinning (it doesn’t stop) I keep messing up, God must not love me because of this or that– If Abraham did have angst over his “performance or lack there of” he must have gone back to the gift of righteousness that comes by faith.
Remember asking Christ to “save” you? Did He? Or was something missing? I know many that never seem to understand that Performance didn’t save them period. It never will. It’s faith in the work of Christ on this very day, called Good Friday. For righteousness comes by faith period. Righteousness come from human additions That is impossible. Human additions would not be holy and righteous, just fallen, like everything human. No one can add to God’s righteous. “All our works are as filthy rags.” All the time. Righteousness comes by faith.
1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” ~Romans 4.1-8
Then please, please read this from Romans Chapter 4 and let the Scriptures speak into your heart and get off the performance disaster. Get free. Get back to the truth. Romans 4.13-25.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”[c] He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Re read it–The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
I believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Do you? Is that enough? Not according to the performance people. They love their belief that they perform before God and that is acceptable, that is righteous. We all know those that love their performance and loathe ours. Right? Come now, be honest. Re look at Easter this weekend. If it’s not about the complete work on the cross, then we are all in trouble.
and so…. this Good Friday…is HUGE. He Jesus the Christ either took all of our sin or he didn’t. If He did, the performance, the religious doing, the performing for righteousness is done. If He didn’t then maybe all those things we think are so so so so so righteous really are? But you know the truth… the performance issue has been settled. The New Covenant is His Blood period. That is why I love Good Friday and what it really means.
Time to stop shaming or living in shame and get to living authentically, honestly before God and of course others. The Curtain of Performance is closed. FOREVER Thank you Jesus!!!