To Live is Christ
Paul is sitting in prison penning a letter to his friends. He doesn't know if he will be released, or if his journey ends here in death. I am impressed with Paul's positive outlook. He is staying positive, his attitude while surrounded by uncertainty is inspiring.
Paul's ministry has been dogged by those who follow behind him taking advantage of new Christians. These individuals profit from the resources of the churches while boasting about their expertise in scripture. They pile burdens and requirements around salvation on the people's backs.
Religion finds its power in complicating salvation. It elevates experts and give them final authority. Paul taught a simple salvation consistent with the teachings of Jesus. The 'Good News' Paul shared with his hearers was simple, love God, love others. The sacrifice of the Christ took away the complicated religious practices for justification. All the practices, holidays, and sacrifices were completed in Jesus' sacrifice. All that's left is for the believer to act in love.
Jesus illustrated the mixing of the two as 'new wine in old wine skins.' The two don't mix. Paul in Philippians says whatever the motivation at least Christ is being taught and he celebrates that. In hindsight we can see the constant conflict and problems religion has caused mixing the simple good news of what Christ accomplish with the archaic practices of religion.
Churches have split due to interpretations around the religious practices of a faith not meant to be religious. This last week I saw an argument around the title of pastor. We have far much good to do in this world to get lost in hating one another over religious practices or definitions.
May you see the good in your darkest moments, Paul did.
May you see past hate
May you open your life to love
May you live as Christ
In His service and yours,