Does religion make a difference? Or is it like so many other things in life, like fad diets, wealth schemes, relaxation techniques and personal organisers that fail to deliver what they promise?
Ultimately, a fad diet, or a technique to organise your busy schedule is going to rely on you to see it through. It will only ever be as good as your self control.
If religion comes down to my self control, then it will never deliver. In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul talks about the great mystery of our holiness—or as some translations say, the secret of our religion. The secret or mystery is Jesus. God in flesh, witnessed by many, believed throughout the world and taken to heaven.
But how does Jesus make a difference? How does he succeed where our self control fails?
There are several answers to this question which respond to different levels of the question. Jesus pays the price for my sin, making me holy. Yet, Jesus does more than that. Through His Spirit I am empowered to have better self control. Yet, even more than that, the reasons behind much of my sin (guilt, shame, insecurity) is also done away with.
May we rest more on the secret of Jesus so we might be Holy!