Do you remember what a religion is? Can you name any religions?
All around the world there are all kinds of different religions, and most people in the world are very, very religious. Christianity is one of the largest religions in the world, along with Islam, and Buddhism, and Hinduism, and Judaism.
All religions share some things in common too, don’t they? Religious people are all trying to figure out how to live a good life and how to either please God and go to heaven and be happy, or some religions think that we live and die over and over again until we are finally happy.
Another thing that every religion has is rules. Lots of rules. Since religion is about being good in order to be happy and maybe going to heaven someday, there are lots of laws that must be obeyed in order to make it to heaven.
Even Christianity has a law. Listen to what Paul says near the end of his letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 6:2. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
The law of Christ?
Jesus gives us rules?
Yes, he does. Jesus tells us how he wants us to live doesn’t he? He wants us to love everyone including our enemies. He wants us to trust God. He wants us to “bear one another’s burdens.” He wants us to help each other when we’re sad or mad. He wants us to be kind and share. He wants us to tell others about him. And mostly he wants us to believe in him. These things are all Jesus’ rules for us.
But there’s a big difference between Jesus’ rules for us and the rules in every other religion. It’s a very important difference, and here it is: Jesus’ rules don’t earn us heaven or God’s love.
Every other religion is trying to earn a place in heaven or in some form of eternal happiness by being good. But Jesus earned our heaven and our happiness for us. He “bore our burden” for us when he died on the cross. He took our place. He carried our sin in his own body and was punished in our place. So now we aren’t being good in order to earn a place with God, we are good because we already have a place with God through Jesus, no matter what. Every other religion says obey God and then he will love you. But Jesus says God loves you no matter what because I died for your sins, now go obey me and love others like I do.
Because of Jesus wedon’t have to earn our way to God and heaven.
With Jesus we can obey his rules knowing we are loved no matter what.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Jesus tells us to bear one another’s burdens. In other words, be like Jesus the greatest burden bearer of all time. Is there a burden that you know of that someone is carrying that you can help with? Do you know of anyone who is sad that you could encourage? Make a family plan to help bear a burden this week.
Your rules are all for my good and I want to obey them. Help me to always remember that I can’t earn your love; you love me no matter what.
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