1. False Religion Enslaves
There are those who love religion for selfish and self-serving reasons, for the benefits it provides to themselves (like control of people, properties, jobs, praise/respect from people, easy money, power, opportunities to exploit, abuse, cheat, etc).
False religion enslaves.
Galatians 2:4: “Some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves”
2. Test of True Faith: Freedom & Empowerment
Freedom is not the freedom to do wrong or to commit crimes. Freedom is having the opportunity to freely pursue and thrive (including second chances to recover from mistakes) in all that is true, right, good, and beneficial for growth/progress – in all its limitless possibilities – out of love, and free will. It is a free response to God’s grace and love. That is why Paul calls the opposers of freedom in Christ, as false believers who want to enslave us (Galatians 2:4).
Jesus said in John 8:31-32: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Good faith is about freedom and empowerment – epitomized in the life and teachings of Jesus.
3. Why is Salvation by Grace
Anything that is done with fear or force is limited, especially when it comes to moral standards. Free response to love is the only way high standards are possible. That is the reason, salvation is by grace. For a follower of Jesus, the standards are very high (eg: the sermon on the mount), because it is a free response to God’s grace and not out of force or fear.
False religion enslaves. True faith empowers and enables the highest standards, as a free response to grace/love.