Is Religion Spiritual or of God?
A question for the Ages right! Religions of the world each claim to be “the way” to God. They possess their rules, ceremonies, events and things to do to lead you to heaven. In reality they possess all the things that won’t get you into God’s Kingdom. We’ve all pondered at some point as to why there are so many different religions or beliefs that state the claims as “the way”. How can each be different but each be “the way”. They make claims that the others won’t get you there or discredit the others. You have some that don’t believe in the resurrection or Jesus is God in the flesh or the Holy Spirit is also God or believe that you have to develop your mind to have a mind like God, some that you keep reincarnating until you get it right, others that all you have to do is be a good person, you must be baptized and others you have to work your way into heaven. As many times as I’ve read and studied the bible, I have yet to find where following Jesus Christ, is a religion! Most religions make claims of being Christians when in fact that they are just the opposite and not Christians at all. They were first called Christians in Antioch in Acts 11:26. God made the statement His people would be called by another name in Isaiah 65:15. Christian or Christians simply means “a follower of Christ”.
The fact of the matter is, religion is going to send more people to hell than anything! Religion is man made or created and started with Nimrod during the making of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1 – 9. God never intended for man to create their own towns or cities and especially their own religious beliefs. We can believe that Satan has a hand in this process. It is his way of turning mankind away from God’s truths and to confuse them into their own beliefs confusing them into believing their beliefs were God’s beliefs. That’s as wrong as someone with two left feet! God also said he would send them strong delusion to cause them to believe a lie, 2Thessalonians 2:11 – 12. Because they believed not in the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness! Religion is full of “man’s traditions” and has nothing to do with God period. Man’s traditions keep us in bondage to carry out man’s traditions. This has been evident from the beginning with Nimrod to the Pharisees up to the present so called religions. Each keeps some type of carrot dangling in front of their congregation for them to follow to get to heaven. Religions are full of man’s ideas, traditions, false doctrines, false preachers, teachers and prophets feeding its members wrong stuff leading them straight to hell.
Is there such a thing as pure religion? God says there is in James 1:27, Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. Again in Matthew 25:31 – 36, God says, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep (Believers) on his right hand, but the goats (Non Believers) on the left. Read Matthew 25:36 – 40. This is what God calls “pure religion”. He calls man’s religion, superstition or superstitious. Acts 25:19, But had certain questions against him of their won superstition (religion), and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. Again Paul says in Acts 17:22 – 23, Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious (very religious). For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. In essence today with all man’s traditions, false doctrines by false teachers, preachers and prophets they are doing the same thing because they can’t be worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because what they do doesn’t line up with scripture, it lines up with what they want.
All people have a longing for something that is the ultimate reality, the ultimate satisfaction to fill their lives. And they have a sense of wonder at the universe that they see. And so religions sprang up, with people coming up with different ideas about why the world existed, and who was in charge of it, or in charge of their bit of it, and what this being was like.
For instance, Buddhism says, “If you do compassionate acts, live according to the eight-fold path and meditate properly, letting go of everything, and all desire, that holds you to this life, you will find your way to the ultimate – to Nirvana.” Islam says, “If you live according to the five pillars (main rules) of Islam and do good works, if you submit to Allah and pray five times a day, God will accept you to paradise.” And Catholicism, as a world religion, so often gives a similar message. “You can come to Jesus if you say a special prayer, or are splashed with ‘holy water’, or agonies over your sins. God is waiting for you; if you come, you will be welcome, but you must find your own way; find your own faith within yourself; make your own repentance.”
The Good News of Jesus is so very different from this. All these religions are ways for people to try to make their way to God. This is an admirable desire and in many senses shouldn’t be discouraged. But sadly it is a futile attempt, because we can never find our own way to God, and it is entirely unnecessary. Because God himself has made a way, but it is not a way from us up to him, it is a way from him to us. In Jesus we see God coming to us – not just to the respectable people, or the religious people or the earnestly moral people; nor to the rich and comfortable places, to a position where servants would wait on him. But to the lowest places, the unrespectable, the immoral, to those who have reached an end of all hope or faith – yes, especially to them. This is the true route of connection between God and people – from God right to where you are.
What’s wrong with religion is not the desire for connection with God, but that it makes people feel that they have to do something to achieve or earn this. God has already done everything necessary to enable a loving relationship between us and himself; and to save us from doing destructive things and from the utter annihilation which would happen to us and the entire universe if it were not for his gift of Jesus to us. It might be hard to believe, when one way or another you have had to pay or sacrifice for everything you wanted, but it truly is a gift – entirely free: that he will raise us to endless life and fill us with his love.
Some acknowledgements to Ruth Jacob.
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