Works Based Righteousness
My father was atypical in that he loved to throw out sayings to me. One of them was cliche, so I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. Did you finish that sentence out loud? It’s pretty common and I heard it more times than I could count as a child. I grew up on John Wayne quotes as well. This generation has no clue who “The Duke” is. I think we can all agree that you can’t get “Something for Nothing.” It reminds me of works based righteousness.
Avoid Charity at all Costs
We all would love to win the lottery, but with the odds as they are, we would not get something for nothing. One of my friends would spend fifty dollars on every paycheck to hit it big. He died without ever winning more than a thousand dollars. Life is like that, we don’t get without giving, unless it’s charity, and we knew not to take charity. Charity steals our pride, after all, leaving us feeling like we didn’t earn what we got. This is the draw of works based righteousness, it feeds our pride and satisfies our guilt.
Putting in My Dues Without Knowing I was “doing”
Worship for me was a lifestyle and almost every day I would lock myself away, sometimes for an hour or two until I “entered into His presence”. My body was parked in a chair at my church at least three times a week. Life was good and I felt confident in my faith because I was paying under a works based system. What I didn’t see is that my pride had succumbed to the oldest of tactics, and I was also paying for my relationship with God.
Earning the Gift
It’s easier for our pride to accept a gift if we feel like we’ve earned it. We make no exception with God’s unconditional love. That’s what makes us susceptible to works based righteousness. Religion likes to hang the dangling carrot over us. These are some consistent “untruths”: 1. You have to work to get into God’s presence – When the truth is, the spirit is indwelling
2. You have to go to church to make God happy because you are “not forsaking the fellowship of the brethren”. – When the truth is, every day of your life outside of church, you have fellowship with spiritual beings.
3. You need to read your bible to know God – When the truth is, although you can find God in the bible, the bible is NOT God. You have an indwelling presence within you that enables you to have a relationship even IF you never looked at a bible again. The disciples lived their entire lives without a bible and did well without one. This somehow evades the obtuse minds of programmed Christians. If you try to tell them this, it’s like talking to a wall.
Lemmings, it’s Real
When you attend a church, you undergo what psychologist’s term as “group think”. When you go to church, you begin to tow the line with the rules and regulations that you hear on a regular basis. This begins the fallacy of works based righteousness being sold as truth. To sign up for the church program, you acknowledge that what you hear is “the truth”. Once someone puts their faith in that particular church’s “truth”, they parrot the same language to those who join after them.
This is a true story. One of my ex-senior pastor’s told me about a church that they attended. Everyone brought a bucket into service, and they were all encouraged to throw up during service. Sanctioned bulimia in a church? Try to tell one of those members that what they were doing was insane, and they would not hear you. Psychologically, when a group of individuals ascribe to a common belief, and one of them wants to tear away from the herd, they face rejection and great loss.
Sold Out Believers
When someone is indoctrinated into an “us and them” mentality, they wind up a cult follower. It takes a radical intervention to change their minds. A brainwashed individual becomes one with the cause. When you are parked in front of someone who is speaking the same thoughts that you are encouraged and expected to believe on a repetitive basis. Not attending is frowned upon by these institutions.
I Got You God!
It makes us feel good to think that we are “giving back to God”. This is part of the catch for the current religious system. Our pride is satiated because we sincerely believe we are doing what God wants, not appeasing ourselves through a system of works. Accepting God’s unconditional love that says our behavior is not counted against us now can feel unreasonable. We then allow religion to grab a hold of our hearts by using what enslaves us to it, our faith. We put our faith in the system of Christianity, not in a personal relationship with the Christ in us.
I Believe, and that Belief has Planted me in This House
Belief is everything. If you believe, you will convince others to believe. When you do this, it becomes a matter of faith, which is a choice. Choosing a church also involves choosing a set of beliefs. To change those beliefs, a human being has to be searching for something else and willing to do whatever is necessary to find the truth, even if it means leaving their church. Social connections within a church make that incredibly hard. We believe these individuals within the church are “family” and that our pastor is our “spiritual parent”. This is the conundrum of church goers.
If You Could Just Consider For a Moment
If we can get the “churched” to consider that they are a “sold out believer” to Christianity but that dedication causes them to follow after legalism and works based righteousness instead of true faith, then perhaps we have a chance. How do you know if you’re religious and under a system of works? If the thought of God offering Heaven to everyone freely and unconditionally bothers you, you may be a religious Christian. When you think that people must “obey God” to get to Heaven, you may be a religious Christian. If this article offends you, you may be a religious Christian. A mature believer, who is not bound by religion, understand that they do not know everything and that listening is paramount to a faith that is always growing.
Want to Learn About Deconstruction?
If you are interested in deconstruction, please go to LangleyTown.com and you will find over eighty books listed there that will help you in your journey to see the truth. I want to say a big thank you for Joshua’s courageous announcement to the LGBTQ community as well. It takes a brave heart to admit mistakes on such a public stage.
Available publications by PK Langley
PK writes short stories about life. They are in the form of ebooks for $1.37 each. Get them here.
Religious Deconstruction, The Frustrated Grace Series is now available, with over two hundred comic images on Amazon. You can get a preview of every single one here.
All Things Equal, is an exposition for women and how God
sees them from a very “biblical” point of view. It was what I needed in my first push toward deconstruction. Get it here.
LangleyTown has a specific page for materials that will help you with your deconstruction. I recommend eighty books or more that you can read. Some I have read, others have come recommended by friends along the way. Find them here.
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