I saw the quote that I used for the title and knew that whoever said it was a genius and most likely was not a Conservative Christian or a Republican.
Too many times, well meaning “Christians” try to force their religion on others.
That got me to thinking about religion and the Bible. That in turn got me to thinking, “Exactly what is religion? How is religion defined?”
I went to the dictionary and found the following:
“Religion: n, any system of faith or worship; the outward manifestation of belief in a Supreme or Superior Being; love and obedience toward God; Piety; monastic vow or state; conformity to Biblical precepts; devotion; fidelity.
That seemed to pretty well cover all the bases, but the next two definitions seemed to cover the people in churches today.
Religiosity: intense fervor in religion; deep religious feeling;
Religious: adj, pertaining to, characteristic of, or set apart for religion; godly’ pious’ devotional’ conscientiously exact or strict, bound by monastic vows; one who is bound by monastic vows.
I think that is a scatter gun way of saying that man is trying to please God and any means he uses, he hopes will get the job done. Add to that, the fact that each person thinks “he or she” has it right and you have the problem with the “Church” today, no matter what the sign on the outside of the building says.
I also got to looking to see what the Bible had down as the first religious act. Who started the whole thing and where can it be found in the Bible?
I didn’t have to look very far, Genesis 3:7. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Religious acts started because mankind screwed up. They knew they had gone against God’s will and tried to gain his approval by doing something. What did God do? He went for His walk in the garden in the cool of the day.
Religion and religious acts were not God’s invention, they were man’s attempts to win God’s approval and it has never worked.
It does work to build large groups of people into an organization, mega churches, masses that can be controlled and put to work bringing in large sums of money to support the high living life style of many “Religious leaders,” but it doesn’t win God’s approval.
I was once asked by a couple of Mormon friends, “You want to keep God’s laws, don’t you?” My answer was a resounding, “NO!” at which they jumped back as if God were going to send a lightning bolt to zap me.
A serious study of the Bible will show what a lot of the churches teach, but do not live. Abraham was justified in God’s eyes because he believed. He didn’t keep a bunch of rules, do a bunch of rituals, he believed God. When he was told to do something, by God, he did it. He may have messed up, like taking Lot when he was told to leave family behind, but he finally got it and believed that God was enough. The righteous man lives by faith. It is actually what the “Good News” is: it is all about God being faithful and shedding His Grace on mankind. Mankind messed up, but God wanted to rebuild the relationship. Adam and Eve’s fig leaf aprons couldn’t do that. Today’s keeping a bunch of rules and working hard can’t do it either.
When the time was right, God provided a way for man to be free of sin and a way for the relationship to be repaired. Just believe God. Period.
All of the work, filthy sinner mentality and most of the other things people do to please God is a slap in the face of Jesus and His sacrifice. God’s grace was given to all when Christ was crucified and raised from the dead. All that is necessary to know God’s grace is to believe. Jesus died once for all, that isn’t Universalism, as many “works Christians” say, it is Good News.
The “filthy sinner” mentality and the “shove the Bible down throats” mentality does nothing to move the kingdom of God forward. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, you are saved. It isn’t about anything that you did, it is all about what He did.
Maybe you can advance the kingdom by just being.
Never miss an opportunity to make others happy even if you have to leave them alone to do it