3 Prisms: World, Religion and Grace

3 Prisms: World, Religion and Grace

The main point of Christianity is to get to a point where Christ is everything. Christ is the beginning and the end. Christ is the blessing. Christ is the prophecy. Christ is the mystery. He is the gift. He is everything that we seek. From him, through Him, and for Him are all things. Any religious expression that does not focus solely on Christ is a farce. Christ is the reason for which the world was created and at the fullness of time God revealed himself through the person of Christ. He is the center, the Scriptures themselves were written to testify of Him.

Christ is everything. That is the main confession of Christianity.However, that is not how we always conduct our lives. We often have the tendency to bring our own concepts, traditions and ideologies into Christianity, which in turn takes away the purity of Gospel. Spiritual maturity is identified by the continuous focus in the person of Christ. As Paul said it in the end of his life, “I desire nothing but to know Christ and the fellowship of His sufferings. Christ needs to be the focus. The prism through which I see myself and the world.

In John 8:1-11 we find 3 prisms through which people identify and interpret the world around them. Let’s take a brief look at each one of them.

1st Prism – The world as being represented in the person of the woman

Here we see the first prism, the world and its values as being represented in the lifestyle of the woman. The world here speaks of a godless and lawless reality that produces a lifestyle of self-gratification and sinfulness. Here we see a married woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The woman represents the world and its values. A system of life that falls so far short of the Kingdom of God that adultery is nothing more than another way of enjoying life.

In context we see that the woman was in Jerusalem, at the end of a week-long party called the Feast of the Tabernacles. Even though this was a feast of joy, that celebrated the abundance of the harvest, the only way that the woman found to enjoy the party was to have an extramarital relationship.

The world exists to offer us sin, and a lot of times we live out our lives through the prism of the world. We let ourselves be guided by its ideals, which fall way short of the values of the kingdom of God. We don’t know if she was the cause or the effect of that adulterous relationship, but for her, true joy was to satisfy herself sexually with a man that was not her own.

2nd Prism – Religion as being represented by the pharisees 

In second place we find the prism of religion as being represented through the pharisees. Religion exists to identify and condemn sin. Those same religious leaders were seeking to kill Jesus. In order to achieve that, religion used the world to set a trap for grace.

The pharisees represent the system of religion, and their prism is the self ostentation by the fulfillment of laws and the condemnation of those who don’t. Religion is also a system of values that fall short of those found in the Kingdom of God, for instead of promoting liberty, justice and joy, it promotes condemnation, ostentation and death. A lot of times we live our lives out of the prism of religion. As religious people, we find value through our personal religious achievements and the putting down of other who don’t.

In John 7:49, we see that the pharisees considered others as “cursed mob”. Religious people never rejoice with any move of God that does not rotate around them. Jesus had performed miracles and taught the people, and yet they wanted to kill him. Religion will always take the focus away from God and place it on a person. A feast was happening in Jerusalem, which celebrated the blessing of God over the nation, however the religious leaders only cared about identifying and condemning sinners.

3rd Prism – Grace as being represented in the person of Christ

In third and final place we see the prism of grace as being represented in the person of Christ. If the world exists to offer and keep us in sin, and religion to identify and condemn sin, grace exists to forgive and set us free from sin. That is the prism of grace in the person of Christ. Jesus overcomes the world, unmasks religion, forgives and sets the woman free of condemnation. Grace is the expression of God’s wisdom, overcoming worldly and religious systems at the same time. Those are the values of the Kingdom of God, redemption, forgiveness and grace through the person of Christ.

In the regime of grace we find no place for the stones of religion to be cast. If in the world people are justified the fulfillment of their desires, and if in religion people are justified by their good moral performance, in grace we are justified in the forgiveness of Christ! Through grace we understand that we are all sinner who fell short of the glory of God. Through the forgiveness given to me I am now able to forgive others, and the grace that is given to me enables me to live free from sin.

Conclusion

So we see that woman’s prism was the world and its values, pharisees was the fulfillment of laws, but Christ’s was grace! In order for us to get to a point where Christ is everything we need to be set free from the influences of the world and religion. To live under God’s grace is to find true freedom, and not the salacity of the world. It is to find our true worth, and not the self ostentation of religion.

That is the point of Christianity, to offer and to keep us in grace. Not only to absolve us from guilt so we’ll live salaciously, and also not to reconnect us with God so we try to win his favor. But above all, it is to give us forgiveness and freedom from sin that we may walk in fellowship with God.