Matthew 9:13 says the following:
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In this passage Jesus is highlighting the two most prevalent life narratives or themes in which Christians can live their lives. He actually says these words on multiple occasions in the Gospel of Matthew. This narrative of sacrifice or religiosity or religious moralism is still the default mode of thinking that many mature Christians continue to partake in today.
The life narrative that Jesus wants us to partake in is the narrative of mercy. The mercy that was shown eventually to us through Jesus Christ on the Cross.
He is basically saying that whatever we do we need to continuously do IN VIEW OF MERCY AND THE CROSS because He paid the sacrifice for both our irreligious sins and our religious sins. We continue, however, to be blind to our religious sin so Jesus took the time to highlight these two Narratives that can potentially run or ruin our lives still today.
In the parable of the prodigal son Jesus discusses two approaches that are both wrong. One was the irreligious younger brother who was living his life own way and living it reckelessly and the other was the obedient, religious elder brother who really never gave it completely up for God. Read this parable here:
We continue to live in a world that tends to see life two ways: Gods way and mans way. I consider this bipolar Christianity an error. Why? Because Gods way is often twisted and manipulated by man in religious ways to get something out of our relationship with God. If we arent blind to our own religiosity we would have to say we live lives as spiritual vampires where we bend truth, morality, and everything else that is religious in our own idolotrous ways so we can suck worth out if to feed ourselves as opposed to worship the God who sent Jesus to die on the cross. We do NOT have to prove ourselves by our moral good works … but just live in this trust relationship with God through our savior Jesus Christ — this is all that is asked of us to be with Him in heaven.
So, in the parable of the prodigal son, if the ways of the religious, elder brother and irreligious, younger brother are both wrong in then a third approach (what I call the Gospel approach), I believe, is the correct approach.
This “Gospel” approach lives in light of the words IN VIEW OF GODS MERCY and what Jesus did for us in the Cross in Romans 12:1 where it says:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy [in view of what Jesus for me on the Cross], to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.
It understands the two Narratives being spoken about in Matthew 9:13 above. That some people want to live lives of moral, relgious sacrifice [which is wrong] and some people want to live in view of what Jesus did for me on the Cross and in view of their weaknesses.
2 Corinthian 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Here it discusses that in our weaknessese that Christ power rest more fully on you. The problem with religion and Christianity today is that it does not see its weaknesses and, as a result, Christs power is not resting fully on them. Instead, they are living in their own moral strength and NOT trusting that Jesus Christ is the the ONLY way to heaven because he took it all on himeslf to die in place of both my religious and irreligious sins. Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven because he is God who became flesh and then died on the Cross for my sins. If people actuall do believe that Jesus died on the Cross they often do NOT trust fully that it is actually true! They continue to attemp to take on projects or thought processes of self-salvation which is undeniably wrong! wrong! wrong!
It is highy important to see these three approaches and also to see that the world only lives seeing two approaches (the religious and irreligious approach)? Why? Because when the average religious person is talking to the average person engaging in irreligious sin the ireligious person will see this discussion as you want to make me a more moral person or you think I am not good enough. While doing this the religious peson is looking DOWN on the person partaking in irreligious sin in their own judgemental, religious way. This judgementalism then drives a wedge between the relgious and irreligious person. The religious person being judgemental is, likewise, engaging in religious sins similar to the religious pharisees and living lives with life narrative of sacrificial morality
I have a Dad who is about the nicest, most highly moral guy in the world. I hve great respect for him. But I honestly do not belive he has an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Why? Because people over his lifetime(including me) that have been partaking of this bipolar Christianity that only see black and white have decided to put themselves on the other side of the discussion with him. This discussion could be a discussion regarding politics, morality, or anything else in-between. While we live in the two dimensions of religion and irreligion, God is living in the 3 dimensions of the diagram above.
Dad, if you reading this I need you to know that I love you and I hope you consider deepening your relationship with Jesus Christ. However, in order to do this you need to know we are all sinners whether we are religious or irreligious sinners. We all need a savior and that savior only exists in Jesus Christ who is the God that put on flesh and wants to establish a personal relationship with you. You need to understand that we are ALL more sinful and flawed than we would ever care to admit to anyone else.
If your willing, lets say a prayer together.
God, I am more sinful and flawed than I ever cared to admit. But I want to accept your sacrifice of Jesus Christ as my Lord and my savior. I understand He died on the cross because I cant be worthy enought to get to heaven on my own. I need you and I accept your unconditional love for me. I want to lean on Jesus as my Lord and Savior more every day that I live.
In Jesus name I pray,
In love, your son,