Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God… – Hebrews 6:1 ESV
People can spend their entire lives learning doctrine and altering their behavior to reflect their beliefs. It’s the societal separation that knots their identity. It’s self-denial to the point of pointless non-statements. The blandness of it all leads to giddy pride in the obscure sub-cultures. Deeper and deeper into the weird creases of homemade religion, you can find people who get off on how bland they can be. Cold polenta and crooked teeth. Thick toenails and rubbery oats.
Plant one in the vanilla bucket of out-dated pop-culture and she’ll slip up and start shaving her legs or covering up her pimples. She always knew who she was when she was the most plain. But, now she’s just regular and has to deal with her spot in society. Maybe she’s not all that pretty, so if she could say she didn’t try, then she’d have an excuse. Without her religious expression of self-denial, she has no excuse. She strikes out at the “sinners” who wear perfume, who squeeze into designer jeans, and color coordinate their underwear. She does this in the name of being holy. She says she’s drawing closer to God so that He’ll perfect her walk. Her goal is to be like Jesus.
People can spend their entire lives learning doctrine and altering their behavior to reflect their “blessings”. It’s the societal separation that flaunts their identity. Embarrassing extravagance only serves to make those who have less to feel less than. The loudness of it all leads to giddy pride in the not-so obscure sub-cultures. Flying on the flagpoles of photoshopped religion you can find people who get off on how rich they, and apparently you, too, can be.
The divisions of expression float by on the parade of life. They do their best to dress the part that makes their version of Jesus more pure or more successful. But this is all washing and dressing. It’s the finger-painting doctrine. Meanwhile there is a world of people out there who need them to get over themselves. Maybe Plain Jane and Fancy Nancy don’t mean any harm, but their lack of maturity is poking holes in the boat and maybe we’re not all ready for water-walking yet.
“Dead works” are works of the flesh while the Spirit remains caged. Trying to get the “self” in line is evidence that you’re still “married” to the law. That’s why grace feels like you’re cheating. It’s because you are. Until you recognize that the death of Jesus was actually you dying to the law, freeing you from the “marriage”, you’ll be a spiritual adulterer. You’ll be serving two masters. You were set free for a resurrection “marriage”. You’ll be able to progress beyond the elementary doctrine and start living the Love we claim to know.
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. – Romans 7:4-6 ESV