“Christianity was never intended to be an “ethical system” with Jesus Christ at the head. Our Lord did not come into the world 2,000 years ago to launch Christianity as a new religion or a new system. He came with eternal purpose. He came as the center of all things. Actually, he came to be our religion. He came in person, in the flesh, to be God’s salvation to the very ends of the earth. He did not come just to delegate powers to others to heal or cure or bless. He came to be the blessings and the full glory of God are to be found in His person.” ~A.W. Tozer
I came across this quote by Tozer and I was again reminded of the centrality of Jesus and the decentralizing of religious institutions. It seems the more we succeed in the church, the more we create something that competes with Jesus. Jesus came to be our faith, our religion, not to compete against what we have created.
As churches grow and initiatives progress, we tend to pat ourselves on the back for what we have accomplished. Yet the community of faith is supposed to be something different, the measuring metrics are different, the outcomes are different.
The larger a church grows the more complex the machinery needed to maintain it. Expansion moves towards the ever elusive dollar, and soon a congregation might find itself serving their structures and initiatives and programs rather than the God who inspired the movement.
When the church moves in this fashion, the teachings become more about behavioral modifications and sinning less because we are so busy “doing” religious stuff that we forget that Jesus -is- our religion.
For the follower of the Rabbi, there is no substitute for who He is…There is no to do list that trumps His presence…There is no self-improvement program that transcends His power.
Jesus is the center. Jesus is the personal revelation of the Father. Jesus is our religion. In becoming our religion, He has demolished the machine that has been created in His name yet lacks the power of His presence.