Faithfulness Ceases to Exist Without Religion

It is said that Christ calls us to be faithful.

It is also sometimes said that Christ came to eradicate religion, usually meaning rituals, rules, penance, and liturgy.

However, I would like to make a simple observation.

Being faithful implies a certain steadfastness, a loyalty. It is thoroughness in a performance of a duty. It is an adherence to certain facts or standards. By eliminating the religious aspect of Christianity, we eliminate the ability to be faithful. When we eliminate the rituals of religion, such as the rituals of Holy Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, and the rest of the Sacraments, you lose something to be faithful towards. If we eliminate the rules such as fasting before Communion, abstaining from meat on Fridays or attending Mass every Sunday, we suddenly have nothing to be faithful towards. It is not unfaithful to skip church on Sunday because there is no rule about going to church. I can be just as faithful sitting on my rump on Sunday playing video games as sitting in a pew because Jesus abolished the rules.

When we’ve eliminated every outwards sign of Christianity because they are “religious” we have nothing to which we can be faithful or unfaithful.

“We’re faithful to Jesus.”

Woo hoo. That’s nice. But what does that entail?

You see part of being in a relationship is having boundaries and guidelines. There are certain rules and expectations to a relationship. There are certain customs and rituals that define relationships. For instance, some of my good friends and myself have this annual spring ritual of riding an old bike to the Red River and tossing it in. It is one of the things that defines our relationship. But when there are no boundaries or guidelines in a relationship, there is no faithfulness, nor is there faithlessness. You really have nothing.

Because the relationship we have is with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we must remember that while we are brothers  of Christ, God, the Father is still our master, and so our side of the relationship involves submission and obedience.

And because God is always the same, never changing, the core of every Christian’s relationship with God ought to be the same. The things that God loves and the things that God commands are the same always and everywhere because is always and everywhere the same because he is without time or space. These things that define the relationship with Christ are first and foremost obedience to God’s commandments (1 John 2:3-11). This includes the moral law (the ten commandments, the sermon on the mount) and the ceremonial law (the Seven Sacraments which fulfill the Old Testament sacrifices) and the precepts of the Church (which replaces the old Levitical preisthood).

“Oh you! Nobody really means that there are no duties that a Christian has when they say that Jesus came to abolish religion.”

I say then that you need to say what you mean. If you don’t mean that there no religious precepts with Jesus than don’t say that there aren’t.

The point is that it is impossible to faithful to a relationship with no rules or structure (a.k.a. religion) because such a relationship is not really a relationship at all.

Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sins. He did not come to abolish religion.