I really think that it robs us of experiencing Jesus. Jesus is God’s great initiator into this world. Think about the Old Testament story, was there really anything Israel could have done to fix their problems or make Jesus come sooner? They were stuck in a cycle of rebellion, repentance, revival, and then rebellion again.
God initiates a beautiful salvation, a ransoming of his people, and even a romancing of his bride. Jesus comes to earth because God initiates and I love how he proposes to his Bride, by initiating a conversation with a Samaritan women at a well.
Here are a few verses from Galatians 3 (taken from The Message) that fun to meditate on:
The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right: “The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.”
Here is another one on why we needed the law and religion:
Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.
I added the underlined bits, as they really seem to drive the point home for me. I know I have been trapped for years in working religious systems to get what I wanted from God, and even for God. I am so grateful that he has initiated this beautiful revolution in my life.
How about you?