Faithfiles Tim Gossling: We don't need to barter our way into God's good books
IT was perhaps inevitable that something would be done about what many see as Europe's strangling bureaucracy and seemingly pointless rules. We shall see if the Government manages to renegotiate something better for the UK.
Such over-regulation isn't new, though. Back in Bible times, the Jews based their laws primarily on the Hebrew Scriptures (the first five books of the Christian's Bible). However, the religious leaders (who also had some political influence) had managed to add a whole raft of extra commands.
These often made life more difficult for everyday citizens, but reinforced the leaders' positions of power. And as they often centred on worship, it left many feeling cut off from God.
Fast forward again to today and many people feel the same. It might not be due to some EU directive, but somehow God seems distant, angry and hard to please. Folk think that whether through some ritual, pilgrimage, other religious act, working hard, giving money or simply being 'nice', whichever deity they follow must be placated.
It is true that many Christians do similar things. But the reason for their actions is different. It isn't to earn God's favour, but because they already have it.
The whole basis of Christian faith is that there is nothing we can do to earn our way into God's good books. It's not like naughty children who don't get presents from Santa.
God's favour is based around what He has already done. Because Jesus came and died, the door has been opened to God's blessing. All we have to do is walk into it and join God's family. Then, out of thankfulness, we will want to please our heavenly Father.
Some think that's too good to be true, creating their own version of the faith and bringing in rules like those Jesus actually condemned.
The Bible says: "Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you."
Have you found freedom yet?