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Archive for August, 2021


“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou NOT unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)


Many Christians reject the “R” word (religion) because of the errant, man-made components of so many false religions. To their cause they have adopted a catchphrase and have added it to their Gospel presentations. We know the phrase all to well:


“It’s a relationship, not a religion.”


This phrase is not found in the Bible, yet some have added the man-made slogan to their Gospel message primarily because they believe it appeals to those who have had negative religious experiences crammed down their throats while they were yet followers of Jesus Christ. Whatever their reasoning it’s a violation of God’s command. Clearly Christians must have a relationship with Jesus, and clearly God commands that religious hypocrisy and false religions are to be avoided, and clearly (and of utmost importance), the Christian religion unto itself does not save you, but nowhere does God conclude or even imply that the components of the Christian faith are to be rejected. That would be ludicrous – God gave them to us so we would know Jesus better and would know what is expected of us.


Despite knowing this, many Christians still say it, forgetting God’s warning, “lest they be reproved and found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6).


How many people have been drawn to the faith (and ultimately to a church pew) by these errant words only to discover, “Gee, this whole church-service thing sure seems religious to me!” Their next thought must be, “You lied to me!”


Truth be told it was a lie, because a legitimate Christian church service is religious. Every religious thing that we do in church is designed so that our relationship with Jesus will deepen and mature. None of it saves us – it’s not supposed to; the religious things we do come after we’ve repented and turned to Jesus to believe and follow. I confess, I used to use ‘the phrase’ all the time, that is until I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and His Word to stop. God’s word is pure and He does not need our help by our adding to the message. There is however a way to talk to someone who has had a bad religious experience. It starts by listening to exactly what made their experience bad, then addressing the issue specifically and biblically.


What I have often discovered while listening to these people is that the problem was not so much the religion (unless it was a false religion), but rather that they were not ready for it. In other words, they were not saved and they were not interested in our religious stuff. Who can blame them? I recall hating Sunday School and I now fully understand why – I was not a believer or follower of Jesus Christ. The problem was not the religious activities, the problem was me!

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)


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