Problems With Religion
The basic problem with any form of religion is that it produces the thought that our favour with God depends on what we do. If we obey a given set of rules we are "good" but if we break one of the rules then we are "bad."
While this might change our behaviour and make us outwardly "good" people, it does nothing to change our heart. People who want to sin will find loopholes in the laws to make it possible to do what they want without being seen to be sinning according to the law.
I read this morning that famous restaurant owner Peter Doyle will become owner of all of the yeast products owned by every Jewish person in Sydney for the week of Passover. He has paid $200 for this privilege and would technically be able to go into any Jewish home or business in Sydney and take possession of any bread product or alcoholic drink he finds.
Rabbis have determined that this fiction gets around the requirement of the Law of Moses that every family must rid their home of all yeast and eat only unleavened bread during the Passover celebration. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites were told that they must bake their bread without yeast so they would be ready to flee Egypt after the death of the first-born sons of every Egyptian family. In future years they were to sweep their homes from top to bottom to ensure that all leaven was removed from the home before they could celebrate Passover.
One Passover two thousand years ago there was a sacrifice which did away with all of this for ever. Jesus was the Passover lamb who took away the sins of the world. On the cross he said, "It is finished", which carries any number of meanings. But one thing that many christians agree is that the death of Jesus means the death of the requirement to please God by obedience to rules and religion. Jesus opened the way into heaven. His death paid the price for every sin in the world.
That means that we no longer have to prove ourselves acceptable to God by obeying rules.
It also means that we no longer have to look for loopholes to do what we want to do while pretending we are good.
In fact Jesus deals with that by changing our hearts.He puts us beyond the hypocrisy of saying "I know this is good but I don't want to do it." Instead he brings us to the place of loving what is good and despising what is bad.
What a Saviour!