Trying Harder is Just Hell [Part 1]

Are you ready for some good news?

The Christian life is the alternative to both rebellion and religion. The Christian life is a relationship with God in Christ.

Today’s Text: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.” (Hebrews 13:8–10, ESV)

Friend and mentor Dudley Hall has asserted that the two primary enemy spirits that warred against Jesus were “rebellion” and “religion”. They are opposite, but equal, foes of the Gospel. The writer of Hebrews warns us not to “be led away by diverse and strange teachings” – anything that leads us from the purity and simplicity of the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It is equally possible to become distant from God through religiosity, as it is rebellion. While rebellion says, “I don’t have to follow anyone’s rules,” religion declares, “I will follow all the rules – and I’ll do it better than others.” Either way, rebellion or religion, it is a distraction from knowing Jesus, who is the “same yesterday and today and forever.”

Here’s part of a chart of comparison that may help clarify:




“I’m not blessed, so why be good?”

“If I’m good, I will be blessed.”

“I’m already blessed.”

Motivator is arrogance - “You don’t need anybody else – you’re self-sufficient.”

Motivator is shame - “You’re nobody special – be like somebody else in order to be blessed.”

Motivator is gratitude

Seeks to ignore/outdo God’s power

Seeks to package God’s power

Yields to God’s power

“My will be done in my way.”

“Thy will be done – but in my way.”

“Thy will be done – in Thy way.”

“You can’t tell me what is right or wrong”

“I can tell you everything that is right or wrong”

“I learn right or wrong as I follow You”

No righteousness


Given Christ’s righteousness

The Christian life is a relationship with God through Christ, pure and simple. And that’s the Gospel!

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