Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just say NO to religion!

It's easy to see that there are many, many religions in the world. But... God never intended for mankind to live by religion! Christ didn't even come to start the Christian religion. The word "religion" itself appears in the Bible only four or five times, usually with a negative connotation. The Apostle Paul talked about his past religious life that he converted from (see Acts 25:19, 26:5). He converted from religion to LIFE. In Colossians 2:20-23 he talked about the do's and dont's that people try to live by (he called them the "principles of the world"), and he said "these things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion... but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh."

Paul talked in great detail about his former life in the Old Covenant religion, and how he came to the realization that, in my own words, all of his Old Covenant religious training really showed him that all the religion in the world would never and could never please God! Religion is not what God wants from us or for us. James is the only one who used the word "religion" in a positive light, in James 1:26-27, and I believe he was simply showing an example of what Life looks like when expressed outwardly.

When God created Adam and Eve, did He say, "be fruitful and multiply... and make sure you're very religious people?" Of course not! He gave them a choice, though. The choice, if you'll let me word it this way, was a choice between life and religion. The Tree of Life was there for them to eat freely from, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was there as well. The latter tree - the tree that opened them up to religion (the knowledge of right and wrong) - is the one He didn't want them to eat from. But they ate from that religion tree... and forfeited LIFE. Their first act of religion? They tried to cover their 'shame' with fig leaves.

Since that fateful day, there has never been ONE ACT of religion that has ever brought man closer to God. There is no act of religion that has ever restored man to Life. Why doesn't God want our religion? Because it doesn't work! Our very best religion is filthy to Him (Isaiah 64:6). God Himself is the one who brought us near to Himself... not through religion, but through the death and resurrection of a Person - Jesus. Through Jesus, God restored us to Life... after having killed us to religion.

God created you, not for religion, but for Life. He loves you, and He doesn't desire your "sacrifices and offerings" (Hebrews 10:8). He wants YOU... just because He loves you!


  1. Wouldn't it be great if this was the message of today's Christian culture instead of the one that is currently out there?

  2. How often I've thought that myself! :)

  3. Rev. 2:4, "Nevertheless I have against you that you are leaving your "best" love.

    My friend, that personal relationship is all important in our day also. We are so involved in methods-I am rather amused at some of the Band-Aid courses which are being offered-and they are making Band-Aid believers. Generally, the course is some legal system that gives you certain rules to follow and certain psychological patterns to observe which enable you to solve all your problems. They try to teach you how to get along with yourself (thats a pretty big order!), with your neighbors, and especially with your wife. All of those relationships are very important, and a great many people think that if they can follow a few rules, they will have the key to a successful Christian life. My friend, let me put it in a nutshell by asking one question: Do you love Jesus Christ? I don't care what your system is, what your denomination is, what your program is, what little set of rules you follow, they will all come to naught if you you don't love Him. Although some systems are better than others, almost any system will work if you love Christ. An intimate relationship with Christ will make all of your relationships and all of your Christian service a joy!

    "Penn State fan" and Rose Bowl bound!!!

  4. I'm not a big fan of systems... I participate only when I have to... at work, doing my taxes, getting in line at the grocery store, etc... ;) ... but I gladly and happily am growing in my love for Jesus, through God's precious grace.

    Unfortunately, the question that doesn't get asked before the question "do you love Jesus," is, "Do you know how much Jesus loves you?" We love because He first loved us, and we grow in love as we learn more of His love.

    Hey, I'm a Big Ten fan all the way around... I'll be rooting for your team on New Year's Day!

  5. Joel,

    You hit the nail on the head here!

    The choice for Adam and Eve was a choice between life and religion. But they chose religion and for the last 6000+ years or so people are still making the same choice.

    Great post and those verses you quoted were great as well (Thanks to ref tagger for making it easy to read)!

  6. Bino... yep indeed, even though God has shown the way to Life, people are still choosing religion. Thank God for His grace that has shown us the way, and may He show others the way through His life in us.

    I love ref tagger... It makes it so easy to include scripture references!