If God hated religion,
why’d he give us the Old Testament?
If Jesus was against religion,
why did He make the sacrifices?
If Jesus came to abolish religion,
why did He teach in the temple?
If Jesus and religion are complete opposites,
why did He participate in all the festivals?
While religion without Jesus is bad, I think Jesus without religion is even worse.
I find that many people who “hate religion” but “love Jesus” are using “religion” as an excuse to live their old life and claim a new one.
Religion, as my good friend Holly pointed out, is just a belief system.
“Christianity IS a belief system… belief in Jesus Christ, the One Who came not to abolish religion or the law but to fulfill it. You can have both the relationship and the religion. God’s religion is Christianity.”
What happened to religion when Jesus came was that we were able to stop trying to earn our salvation through our works, and instead began to show our salvation through our works.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
I don’t believe that Jesus and religion are polar opposites. Not real religion. Religion isn’t the infection. Sin is. That’s why there are always nutjobs out there that are twisting religion.
It really boils down to this: religion is obedience to God. It’s serving at church. It’s loving others. It’s forgiving. It’s not smoking. It’s not gossiping. It’s not lying. It’s praying. It’s studying the Bible. It’s putting off sin. It’s putting God first.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I don’t know about you, but me? I find that I can’t very well keep myself from being polluted by the world if I’m not obeying God.
Just something to think about….
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.