"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10One of the major claims of Jesus was that he came to give life and life to the full - abundant life; life overflowing; life that comes from and through God. He came to fill us with his presence, his life.
The story of freedom, grace and love that has drawn folks to the feet of Jesus has sometimes been translated by particular doctrines of the church into laws that people cannot bear; rules and regulations that oppress people and take life.
There’s talk about freedom and grace but many within the church seem to be blinded by the rules that one must adhere to or else run the risk of falling from this grace. To think that parts of the church hasn’t taken the command of love and life and turned it into a law of death and fear is denial.
For Jesus, love gives life. It is love of God, self and others that Jesus encouraged and demonstrated by his life’s example. That is the greatest command. Love sums up the whole law.
Jesus used some of his harshest words on religious leaders:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." Matthew 23:13It is hard to draw near to God when one is trapped in law and religion. As Jesus' followers we are not the gatekeepers of the kingdom. To think that we are gatekeepers is to stand in opposition to Jesus' life and ministry like the religious authorities did.
Jesus has kicked open the doors to the Kingdom of God and all people are invited in. That's Good News. Evangelsim is pointing toward God's open door. He said I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through me.
In Christ, you have been set free, don’t allow yourself to become in bondage again with the yoke of slavery. Break free from the grip of religious legalism and run toward the open door. Jesus is there with his arms stretcheded-out wide to welcome you home. Jesus said, you are no longer slaves, now I call you my friends.