Why I don’t hate “religion”, because it is His One, holy, catholic/christian and apostolic church

English: Baptism of Christ

English: Baptism of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But this is the meaning and substance of this addition: I believe that there is upon earth a little holy group and congregation of pure saints, under one head, even Christ, called together by the Holy Ghost in one faith, one mind, and understanding, with manifold gifts, yet agreeing in love, without sects or schisms. I am also a part and member of the same a sharer and joint owner of all the goods it possesses, brought to it and incorporated into it by the Holy Ghost by having heard and continuing to hear the Word of God, which is the beginning of entering it. (1)
The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.

385    Our Lord says: “A new commandment I give you: that you love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples.” And Saint Paul: “Bear each other’s burdens, and thus you shall fulfill the law of Christ.” I have nothing to add. (2)

I was reading the other day about someone who was making a case for a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ.  A little later a friend sent me a question about the protestant church, and their view of faith being individual, compared to the “one holy catholic and apostolic church”.  I thought it through and sent him some thoughts about it, tracing it back past the Enlightenment to Zwingli and his attitudes towards the Lord’s Supper and the miraculous.  Putting the two together this morning, plus preparing to head to St Louis for my denominations convention, has me thinking about our faith a lot, and how scriptures expresses it – corporately.

You can’t really come up with a “personal faith” in Christ, nor for that matter a personal relationship with Him.  The easiest way to see this is to start with the Trinity.  To have a relationship with Jesus, means we have a relationship with the Father, whom Christ brings us to, and with the Holy Spirit, who is sent to us, by the Father and the Son.  The Spirit brings us deeper into that relationship with the Father and Son, testifying of Them, showing you Their glory, reminding us of the presence of God in our life, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  That’s why we baptize in Their Name.

If we can accept the relationship with the Trinity, then we have to realize that as They work in our lives as individuals, they are drawing us into a relationship with each other.  It is inevitable, it is our very hope, to share in their glory, to know Christ is in us, but that means us.  That means we are all enveloped in Him, we are united to Him, and therefore each other.   This is why Escriva says he doesn’t have to add anything to what Jesus commissions us to be, what Paul describes and encourages us to be.  Religion is nothing more than a way to classify this relationship, to describe the actions that take place because of it, for to be united to Christ results in our fulfilling the law of Chirst.

Which is why, united to Christ from our very baptism, from the very work of the Holy Spirit calling us to faith and repentance, we learn to love each other!  It is part of being drawn into the love of Christ for us, for the Father.  It isn’t our decision or desire to love, it is part of the very nature of God – the Triune God, who is working in our life.  It is part of our spiritual DNA – our heritage as those called into a relationship with God.   He makes us One!  He causes us to love, to serve, to think of others before we think of ourselves.  For that is who He is, and as He unites us to Him, as we look to Him, the Spirit is drawing us to this, forgiving, reconciling, redeeming and causing us to share in this life of Christ.

So go in peace, to love God, and therefore each other.

(1)  The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.

(2)  Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 973-975). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on July 13, 2013, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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