“You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?” Galatians 5:4-7 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/gal.5.7.NET
Religion is far easier than love. Religion allows me to be perfunctory in my relationship with God and people. Love forces me to feel and sacrifice for God and people. Love costs much, whereas religion costs little to nothing. Loving people is messy, and loving God is overwhelming. Religion is clean, simple, and uncomplicated. Religion will make us feel good on the road to hell. Love can make us feel bad. We never love enough or with the results we had hoped for, but it leads us to God and His eternal dwelling place. Religion is like the worst of men. Love is like God, Who is love. Christians are called to love. They are to love God and love others. Loving God can look religious, bible reading, prayer, and praising Him, but these things are like food to the body. They fuel the soul for doing His work, sharing the gospel, demonstrating kindness, having mercy, and extending grace to others in the world. Religion ignores the world’s pain and places self-interest above all though it can look like love when we give money or time to help the poor. These things are done to be seen by men and relieve our conscience, not for compassion toward our neighbor or in response to the Spirit Who moves His people to random acts of love for all people throughout our day. There is obedience that comes from love, but it is not to gain from others but to contain our sinful nature so that we continue to place others before ourselves. God, the Father, has called us through Jesus the Savior into a familial relationship based upon love. Jesus did not come to start a new religion.