The Most Important Distinction Between Gospel and Religion

“The point is not to find a place for God in our story but to receive the good news that God has found a place for us in His.” –Michael Horton

It’s a shift in thinking that makes all the difference. 

Who is the story about? 

most important distinction between gospel and religion

The gospel, which encompasses the story of creation, the fall, our redemption, and renewal, is God’s story.  The most wonderful news is that we’re invited into this story. 

When we turn this perspective around, trying to find a place for God in our story, we’re missing the point.  When we make God’s story about us, all we have is religion.

@@Religion is man’s attempt to reach God.  The gospel is different.@@  It’s Jesus reaching out to man. There’s a difference.

Christians sometimes accept the gospel and see it as the means to salvation, which it is- but once saved, the focus can get lost. 

Thanks for saving me Jesus, I’ll take it from here, is an approach taken all too often.   It comes from a place of pride.  We attempt to find a place for God in OUR story, using religion and principles from the Bible as a self-help guide to life.   This is where we try to do things on our own strength and seek our own glory.

The Bible is not a self-help guide.  It’s the story of Jesus.  He is present in it from beginning to end.  His story is relevant to everyday life, for all of us.  It is only through our response to what God has already done, and is continuing to do that we will be transformed. 

@@God’s story is about HIS glory.@@  We are invited to join him for that purpose.

It’s good, even when we think we know the story well, to go back to the basics and remind ourselves what it’s all about:


Adam and Eve, perfect creatures, in perfect harmony with each other and their creator, made in the image of God, given free will to choose right or wrong.



God already knew before he made them, that they would choose sin.  Adam and Eve chose to disobey God.  He already had a plan to save humanity.  We were chosen “in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4.).  How did Adam and Eve’s sin affect us?  Sin, which brings death, entered the world through Adam.  It is an inheritance, passed down, a part of our nature.

This sin keeps us from God because God is just and holy.  We have all sinned, and it is truly horrible.  What Jesus endured on the cross is what we all deserved.  If not for what Jesus did next, we would be forever separated from God, with no hope.


Jesus, who is God, paid the price for our sins by taking on human flesh and lived perfectly in our place.  He died an excruciating death on the cross, enduring temporary separation from his Father, then conquered death, rising from the dead after three days, and appeared before many witnesses, before returning to his Father in heaven.  

When we confess our sins and believe that Jesus lived, died and was raised again for us, for the forgiveness of our sins, we are redeemed.  All sins, past, present, and future are forgiven and we take on Christ’s righteousness so that we can enjoy a relationship with God.


Though we have a new spirit that is saved, we still have sinful habits, and we’re being renewed, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, to make us more like Jesus, in order to bring him glory.   


What grace it is, that God has found a place for us in his story.  Yes, he loves you, very much, and he has a wonderful plan for your life.  His love is a gift.  He is yours and you are his, forever.  And it’s all for his glory!

“Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory!  Amen and Amen!” Psalm 72:19 (ESV)
Blessed be his glorious name

Linking up with Deb Wolf at #faithandfriends (Friday), #GraceandTruth (Friday), Holly Gerth at #coffeeforyourheart (Wednesday), Sherry at #homesweethome (Thursday), Susanne Eller at #livefreeThursday, Carmen at #salt&light (Thursday), Kelly at #RaRalinkup (Tuesday), and Lori at #Momentsofhope (Monday)

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