Religion is the same thing as self-righteousness: it’s man’s pursuit to make himself right before God. Religion operates through guilt and fear. Dependency on guilt is what keeps religion alive and well, like a drug dealer giving an addict a small dose of the drug to keep him coming back for more. Even those who teach the Gospel often mix it with guilt without even realizing it. The result is a feeling in people that they aren’t quite right with God. It’s as if there is a carrot on the end of the stick that says, “Just do one more thing for God, and He’ll be pleased with you.”

We all think we are against religion. We love to think of ourselves as pure grace and no law. We say we hate legalism. Here’s a litmus test of pure grace: if there is burn-out, there is guilt. If there is competition, there is condemnation. If there is jealousy, there is shame. If there is hidden sin, there is law. If there is fear of man, there is insecurity, dishonesty, idolatry, control, manipulation, and a focus on perception at the expense of reality. If there are fears of ANY kind, there is law. If there are doubts, there is a misunderstanding of the goodness of God. This is not pure grace.

If you have experienced these things, you have taken on works that God didn’t design you for, or others have put ill-fitting burdens on you out of their need to fulfill their agenda. You accepted because you sincerely believed that it would make you closer to God, and you’d be “a team player” in God’s kingdom. It all starts very subtly and sounds very spiritual, but if we buy into any form of works-based religion, control will sneak in to steal our liberty in Christ. How can we know if we are staying in a place of freedom from religion?

You can tell when you are under grace, living in freedom every day because you will have certain qualities about you. For example, you have:

nothing to hide,

nothing to prove,

nothing to gain,

nothing to lose,

no one to convince,

no one to impress.

You don’t need followers. You don’t need man’s approval. You are marked with joy and peace and security. You are free to serve and free to love. You don’t need a position or a title. You are free to succeed because you are free to fail. And the biggest one is this: YOU ARE FREE TO HEAR THE VOICE OF GOD FOR YOURSELF! The Gospel of grace transforms religious robots into eagles who sore without any of the constraints of the law.

(from pages 49-50 of Unveiling Jesus)

Want more from Tricia Gunn? Check out excerpts from the Unveiling Jesus 20-part series!

Unveiling Jesus, by Tricia Gunn, is a verse by verse study of the pure gospel of grace. It’s an amazing journey of love, identity, and freedom in Christ.

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Tricia Gunn

Tricia Gunn

Tricia Gunn is the Founder of Parresia, host of A Real View, and the author of Unveiling Jesus, which lays a verse by verse foundation of the amazing grace of Jesus, along with the accompanying 20-part teaching series. Involved in ministry for over two decades, Tricia Gunn has always had a passion to see God’s beloved children healed and delivered — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.