For as long as I can remember, the radio in my house has been tuned to The Country Gospel Show on CJWW 600 every Sunday evening. (Ok, laugh it up…)I know almost every one of those songs like the back of my hand. (Ok, feel free to laugh harder now…) Last night, for the first time, one song’s lyrics really made me stop and think.
“Gimme that old time religion
It’s good enough for me.
It was good for the Hebrew children…
It was good for dad and mother…
It will do when I am dyin’…
Gimme that old time religion,
It’s good enough for me.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, the Hebrew children’s old time religion wasn’t good enough for God; therefore, it surely wan’t good enough for them:
“I hate all your show and pretense–the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. (Amos 5:21-23, emphasis mine)
Religion will never save anyone. It wasn’t enough to save the Israelites, it is not enough to save my parents, and when I’m dying, it will not have been enough to save me either. Religion will not save the Church.
“What can we bring to the LORD to make up for what we’ve done? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and tens of thousands of rivers of olive oil? Would that please the Lord? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for the sins of our souls? Would that make him glad?
No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:6-8, emphasis mine)
Christ has opened the door for us to have a relationship with God. Our religious motions mean nothing. We can never appease God by doing ‘stuff’. Let’s say you deeply hurt one of your friends. You want to make things right with them so you say, “Hey, because I did that, I’ll deprive myself of eating cheeseburgers for a week. That should show you how sorry I am.” That is how rediculous it sounds when we tell God we’ll make up for our sins by being religious. “I sinned, so to make up for it I won’t watch TV for a week”, or “I’ll be sure to go to church every Sunday.” And God looks at us, shakes his head and say, “Sucks to your spirit of religion. Come back when you realize that you will never be able to do anything to atone for what you’ve done to hurt me. You have to just accept forgiveness through Christ, do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with me.” (Thanks for the analogy Cory :)
Old time religion ain’t good enough for me.