I’ve been reading Death by Love: Letters From The Cross by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears, in chapter 4 Driscoll contrasts the Gospel with religion in 10 different ways.

  1. Religion says that God will not love me until I obey his rules enough to earn his love…  The gospel says that because God has already loved me and expressed this through the personal and work of Jesus on the cross, I am now free from sin to live a new obedient life by the power of his love given to me as a free gift.
  2. Religion says that the world is filled with good people and bad people…. The Gospel says that the world is not filled with good people and bad people but rather with sinners who are either repentant and trust in Jesus’ death for their life, or sinners who are unrepentant and remain spiritually dead and separated from God under his wrath.
  3. Religion is about what you do…  The gospel is about what Jesus has done – for you, in you, and through you – by grace.
  4. Religion is about getting from God…  The goal of the gospel is to get God himself, who is our greatest treasure, highest joy, and source of life, whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, living or dying, happy or sad.
  5. Religion sees hardship as unloving punishment rather than sanctifying discipline… for the follower of Christ – God will use suffering to sanctify us through affliction and make us more like Jesus.
  6. Religion is about you…  The Gospel is in contrast because Jesus has lovingly served us, and we love him, we are to lovingly serve people as Jesus has us.
  7. Religion focuses almost entirely on the external, visible life of a person and over looks the internal, invisible life of the heart where motives lie…  The Gospel is concerned first with the state of our internal self.
  8. Religion is about what we do, the end result is that we lack assurance regarding our standing with God…  The gospel tells us that because our standing before God is contingent on Jesus alone, we can know with assurance that we are secure as redeemed people.
  9. Religion simply does not work because it results in either pride or despair…  The gospel alone leads to a humbly confident, joyous obedience because it teaches us that our righteousness is not our own, but rather a gift from Jesus because of his work on the cross.
  10. Religion pursues righteousness through the power of our self-righteousness…  The good news of the gospel is that Jesus gifted his righteousness to us who are unrighteous if we believe, or have faith, in his person and work alone.

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  1. Thanks for posting this, Shane. I really appreciated this passage from Death by Love when I first read it a few months back, and reading this excerpt is a very helpful reminder of the importance of the gospel.

  2. This reminds me of some of what was in a great message by Rod Rosenbladt called The Gospel for Those Broken by The Church. (

    We need to be diligent in preaching the true Gospel, and making sure people have a correct understanding of it. According to this, what a lot of Evangelicals have is Religion.

    I also recommend to you peter leitharts book Against Christianity.

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