Call Me Religious – I Really Don’t Mind
April 6, 2016 by Dave Wells
“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there my servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)
I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I don’t mind if you call me religious. The way I see it, Jesus has provided His followers a variety of activities, if pursued, will draw the Christian closer to Him and thus deepen their relationship. Some of these activities include prayer, Bible study, corporate worship and Bible teaching, communion, baptism, holy matrimony, sharing the Christian faith, charitable and sacrificial giving, and submission to the plan and will of God. I have no problem whatsoever referring to these things collectively as the components of the (my) Christian religion.
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
I grasp that some folks have been hurt by false religions, of which there are thousands. I also understand there is an entire group of people who falsely believe that ‘doing’ the components of the Christian religion, such as going to church or reading the Bible, is what saves them. I am not one of those people and hopefully you aren’t either. You should know that Jesus does not hate the elements of the Christian religion (how could He; He gave us these building blocks), but hates that some folks errantly believe (or teach) that this religion will save them.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
I recognize that the Christian religion, that is to say the components of our Christian faith, do not have the power to save anyone. Our salvation is by faith alone, believing that Jesus Christ completed all the work that was needed to be done, on the cross at Calvary. We are saved not because of these religious things we do [to deepen our relationship with Jesus], we are saved because we believe Jesus died for our sins and paid the penalty we were due. In honor, glory, and praise to our Savior Jesus Christ, we are active participants in the religious activities He has given His bride, the church. The cherished relationship with our Lord and Savior is effectuated by means of these religious practices. If we ignore them, our relationship suffers.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29
I get it when some Christians proclaim, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship,” as they strongly desire to convey to non-believers that the components of our faith cannot save a person. However the statement is misleading because the non-believer then witnesses these same people doing religious things and are left confused.
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. Mark 11:17
The non-believing community would be better served if we (the church) would shun our little catchphrases, and strive to share the whole story. We might win over a religion-hater by telling him or her, “It’s not a religion,” but without a more substantial explanation, we risk losing them when they come face-to-face with our religious activities.
The church would be better served if we clung more to Christ’s commands and shared them, rather than our catchy slogans.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2