The Difference Between Irreligion, Religion and The Gospel

ireligion, religion, and the Gospel

A quick note on what how “religion” is used here.  We’re not using “religion” to describe a dedicated Christian who attends a church service.  Rather, Religion here really means religious performance, trying to attain God’s salvation by your own goodness or works.   The diagram above, I believe clearly shows this, yet I felt it necessary to make the distinction since so many are caught up in the delusion that one can belong to Christ and not be part of his Church.   

That said, seeing the distinction between religon, irreligion and the Gospel is pretty important.  We daily fall into disbelief and need to examine ourselves as to where we aren’t believing the Gospel.  I often use the 4 G’s for this.  Yet this diagram is helpful to check your motives and attitudes to see if they’re in light with Gospel belief or are the result of falling to the left or the right.

Tim Keller’s in his book, The Prodigal God, draws this distinction from the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  He talks of how there’s really two lost sons in that story:  The irreligious younger son who runs away from home and disownes his father by trying to make his own way, but also the prideful religious Pharisaical son who stays but really wants to replace his father through his own performance and hard work.  Keller says the Story leaves you yearning for a true elder brother who would go out and look for his lost brother.  He says it leaves you yearning for Christ.

The Gospel is the answer to both religion and irreligion.  Only in the Gospel can you rest, trusting in your true Elder Brother, Jesus, to save you and bring you home, and trusting in the gracious love of your Heavenly Father to run and accept you when you arrive.

Picture found Here along with some great Gospel-Centered resources.


About Ted Torreson

I'm a Husband, Father, Pastor & Church planter

Posted on May 23, 2012, in Gospel-Centered and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great post! I’m leading a study on the Prodigal God…Keller communicates the Gospel so well and we’re having a blast having our eyes opened to God’s truth in a unique way through that parable!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Pastor James Hein's Blog

Crossing my mind. Mind on the cross.

Family Friendly Faith

May God use these pages to bless, encourage and strengthen you.

Sweet Rains

"He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)

Faith In Motion

Thoughts on life in light of the Gospel

Provocations & Pantings

Trusting God :: Treasuring Christ :: Triumphing the Gospel


love. serve. lead


Following Jesus' Command to Make Disciples


helping others move forward toward Christ, community, and mission

Nate Navarro

love God. love people. don't go alone.


Help wanted: Desperate sinners transformed by Jesus to start a revolution. Inquire within.

The Tentmaker Blog

Using paid employment for Kingdom ministry


instigating a life, one story at a time...


Learning to believe and journey toward Jesus

KPB Stevens

The homepage of artist, writer, priest, & spiritual director Karl Stevens.


Spontaneous acts of controlled synesthesia

Missional Church Planting

a misson alive blog

Thoughts from the Journey

thoughts on the church, faith, and life


%d bloggers like this: