Posts Tagged ‘relationship not a religion’

The one true religion; the components that make up the Christian faith, are not for the atheist, the agnostic, or for followers of other false religions. The Christian religion is only for those who have repented, believe and follow Jesus Christ, and desire to know Him better. The Christian religion does not save a person; our religion is comprised of God-given commandments, doctrines, and directives for the born-again Christian; that is, the person who recognizes Jesus accomplished all the work on the cross and has received by faith Christ’s merciful and gracious salvation. Our religion is the means by which we learn about Jesus, His will for us and the Church, and the method by which we mature in our faith through submission and obedience.
So if the Christian religion is not for the non-believer, what should we be doing?
We should be sharing the Gospel Message and nothing else. If we’re caught up in other biblical topics, we should always aim to bring the discussion back to the Good News. Once they understand (and accept) their sinful condition, grasp how they are separated them from God, recognize their need for a Savior (Jesus Christ) in order to restore that relationship, and once they repent from their sinful ways and receive and believe by faith in Jesus Christ, then they are born-again Christian believers and are ready to partake in the God-given (not man-made) doctrines, rituals, commandments, and assorted teachings of the church.
So should we invite them to church?

I submit to you that unless the Gospel message is going to be preached, the bad news with the Good News, they are not going to comprehend or appreciate the elements of our religion, in fact they might be turned away by them. I believe those who [errantly] teach that Christianity is a “relationship and not a religion,” have suffered to one degree or another of having religion crammed down their throats before hearing and receiving the Gospel, very often for long and sustained periods of time.

Consider 1 Corinthians 2:13b-14

“[W]e speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.”

In other words, non-Christians do not have the Holy Spirit residing inside of them. The King James version refer to these folks as ‘natural men.’  Therefore, the spiritual truths of our religion are foolishness to them. However, the Holy Spirit comes alongside the non-believer for the sole purpose of understanding the Gospel Message! So, while they may scoff at our Bibles stories, our rituals, and our doctrines, they have, by the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit, the capacity to understand their need for a Lord and Savior in their life. Once they take that step of faith, they’ll receive the Holy Spirit within, and can begin to understand, bit-by-bit like the rest of us, God’s Holy Bible and the religion He has provided us.

What is the Gospel?

Go here to learn more.

Question: Does this mean we should not send our children to church?

Of course not, but I also believe that our Sunday School lessons should emphasize the Gospel Message more so than Bible stories. There will come a time that these children will have to make their own decisions and we want those decisions to be based on the full understanding of the Gospel message and nothing else.

We need to remember that the religious happenings inside our churches are primarily for equipping the saints. Sure, non-believers are welcome, but at the same time it could be likened to inviting a mathematical-illiterate to your calculus class. Unless your professor is going to pause and teach this visitor basic arithmetic, what they hear in that classroom will be mostly foolishness to them, much in the way the 1 Corinthians passage demonstrates.


Read Full Post »

The list of things that God hates (below) is borrowed from ‘Meredith’s Book of Bible Lists.’  I looked through it and I can’t find anywhere where God says that He hates, abhors, or considers the Christian religion to be an abomination.  What the list does reveal is that God hates false religions that lead men to their destruction, man-made components added to the Christian religion, and religious hypocrisy (e.g., Christians who preach one thing, but then continue to do sinful things).

Jesus doesn’t hate religion, nor did He come to abolish it. That notion can’t be found anywhere in God’s Word. To suggest otherwise is to add words to the Bible (a practice God despises). To say Jesus hates religion and He came to abolish it is a lie.  God hates lying.

Here’s what God hates according to the Bible.

 The List

1. Homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:22).

2. Bestiality (Leviticus 18:23)

3. Idols, and the materials used to make idols (Deuteronomy 7:25)

4. Blemished sacrifices (Deuteronomy 17:1)

5. Worshipping the sun, moon or stars (Deuteronomy 17:3-4)

6. Divination (Deuteronomy 18:10)

7. Astrology (Deuteronomy 18:10)

8. Enchanters (Deuteronomy 18:10)

9. Witches (Deuteronomy 18:10)

10. Charmers (Deuteronomy 18:11)

11. Wizards (Deuteronomy 18:11)

12. Necromancers (Deuteronomy 18:11)

13. Transvestitism (Deuteronomy 22:5)

14. The hire of a whore (Deuteronomy 23:18)

15. Remarriage to a former wife after she has been married to another man (Deuteronomy 24:4)

16. Dishonest scales (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

17. Workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5)

18. The wicked (Psalm 11:5)

19. Those who love violence (Psalm 11:5)

20. The froward [perverse] (Proverbs 3:32)

21. A proud look (Proverbs 6:16-17)

22. A lying tongue (Proverbs 6:17)

23. Hands that shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:17)

24. A heart that devises wicked imaginations (Proverbs 6:18)

25. Feet that are swift in running to mischief (Proverbs 6:18)

26. A false witness who speaks lies (Proverbs 6:19)

27. Anyone who sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19)

28. Lying lips (Proverbs 12:22)

29. The sacrifices of the wicked (Proverbs 15:8)

30. The ways of the wicked (Proverbs 15:9)

31. The thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26)

32. The proud in heart (Proverbs 16:5)

33. Those who justify the wicked (Proverbs 17:15)

34. Those who condemn the just (Proverbs 17:15)

35. Vain sacrifices (Isaiah 1:13)

36. Feasts as Israel celebrated them (Isaiah 1:14)

37. Robbery for burnt offering (Isaiah 61:8)

38. Idolatry (Jeremiah 44:2-4)

39. Evil plans against neighbors (Zechariah 8:17)

40. False oaths (Zechariah 8:17)

41. Esau (Malachi 1:1-3Romans 9:13)

42. Divorce (Malachi 2:14-16)

43. The deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:615)

44. Sacred pillars (Deuteronomy 16:22).

45. “I hate, I despise, your feast days” (Amos 5:21).

46. “Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates.” ( Isaiah 1:14)

What is the Christian Religion?

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines religion this way:

Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of his will to man, in man’s obligation to obey his commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties…Religion…is godliness or real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and his law.

I have gone through that definition word by word and I cannot find anything that God said He hates or would desire to abolish. What I like about the definition is that it points out that the Christian religion is in obedience to God’s commands, implying the components of our faith are not man-made.  So if you’re in a church that says you must do works to be saved, or you must attend that denomination to get to Heaven, or you must recite these words to Mary ten times, your religion has man-made parts that need to be rejected.

God’s Mandates for Religion

As we already pointed out, people do not have to do works in order to earn their salvation.  The Bible tells us that it’s by faith we are saved.  ‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.’ (2 Corinthians 7-10)  Jesus finished all the work at the cross. In love and gratitude, we willing submit ourselves to the only One who could have saved us.  It is our desire to obey, not because some cleric said we had to, but because we desire to; it blesses our Lord and Savior. Therefore, we utilize the components of the Christian religion that God has established — they serve to bring us closer to Jesus and to equip us for ministry.

What are some of those religious, God-given elements we practice?

Praying, reading our Bibles, meditating on His word, going to church, fellowship with other believers, communion, worship, baptism, and marriage, are a few that top my list.

Here are a few others:

Keeping God’s word (John 14:23 )

Feeding God’s sheep (John 21:15-17 )

Heal the sick (Matthew 10:8)

Teaching (Matthew 28:20)

Preaching repentance and remission of sins (Luke 24:46-47 )

Preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15)

Doing good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27-28)

Not being hypocrites (Luke 12:1)

Giving (Matthew 5:42)

Loving God (Mark 12:30)

Loving one another (John 13:35)

Not being deceived (Mark 13:5-6 )

Being ready in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2)

Making disciples (Matthew 28:19)

Letting our light shine (Matthew 5:16)

And there are plenty more.

…Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.           Ephesians 4:1-6

There is a bottom line here. While I might call the adherence to God’s mandates religion, you might call them your steps of faith.  Someone else might call them the elements of their relationship.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we’ve committed our lives to Jesus Christ and that we’re submitted to His authority…because we want to, not because we have to.

What’s not okay is for one Christian to suggest or imply that another Christian is not saved because they’re not using the same vocabulary as them.  It’s really quite arrogant for someone to think we should remove a perfectly good word, a word that they have misunderstood, misapplied, or perhaps were even mistaught, from our vocabulary. Frankly, that practice wreaks of the kind of man-made dogma that God hates. So if you want to say that Christianity isn’t a religion, but a relationship, that’s fine.  If I want to say I practice the components of my religion religiously, that’s fine too. But let neither one of us ever say the other is wrong based solely on semantics.

  1. What are your thoughts?
  2. How did God speak to you?
  3. What is your prayer?

~ ~ ~ 

Did you enjoy ‘He Dwells’ the blog? 

Please subscribe, re-post, or click the LIKE tab.

Read Full Post »

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Let’s Play JEOPARDY!

Please read the following definition taken from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary aloud and determine the word that is being defined. All responses must be phrased in the form of a question. : )

“In its most comprehensive sense, it includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of His will to man, in man’s obligation to obey His commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God; and also true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. It therefore comprehends theology, as a system of doctrines or principles, as well as practical piety; for the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to His will or commands, is  _______.”

If you said, “What is religion?” you are correct.

But it’s Not About Religion…It’s a Relationship!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Through the years so many of us have been wounded and scarred by those operating outside the realm of religious circles and because of those experiences, whether real or imagined, we have redefined the word [religion] and summarily disposed of it. Friends, I consider that a wretched shame and once again, I’d like to address the matter.

Let’s unwrap Webster’s definition and see if the word has any redemptive value. First he says that religion in its most comprehensive (complete) sense consists of a belief (faith) in the being and perfections of God. Stop right there. Webster is fundamentally saying that religion is that which we believe to be true about God. So far, I am not offended by the ‘R’ word.

Webster continues that religion is God’s revelation (disclosure of His promises, purposes, procedures, etc) to us and that His followers are obliged (required and committed) to obey His commands. Okay, I can see that we’re now entering troubled waters; nobody wants to or enjoys being told what to do. At this occasion I would tender that there are many people who reject divine compliance because they cling to a degree of immorality and therefore have dismissed the ‘R’ word based on the admission of this tenet. Here’s the reality: if we, without restraint and enthusiastically, consider ourselves to be followers of Christ Jesus, we are in fact devoted to obedience. This does not mean we are declaring perfection towards the attribute, but rather submission to the ideal. If you agree so far, you are religious!

Not to Worry

Furthermore embraced within religion there is (according to Webster’s definition), a state of reward and punishment, man’s accountableness to God; true godliness or piety of life, with the practice of all moral duties. Again, if we are committed to our relationship with Jesus; if we are sincere, then these components of our faith do not trouble us. In His straightforwardness our Father has made devotion a black and white, either/or proposition, not because He desires to impose heavy restrictions upon us, but rather because we’re likened to dumb sheep who require the simplest of instructions. Personally, this dumb sheep finds the ‘One way’ doctrine extremely comforting.

So in this vein of simplicity (and concerning the receipt of reward and punishment), which do you prefer? As it pertains to accountability, would you rather answer to man or God (who will judge most righteously)? In the observance of moral duty, which is preferable to you: holiness or hollow-ness? My friends, it is as Webster says, “that the practice of moral duties without a belief in a divine lawgiver, and without reference to his will or commands, is not religion.” Do you agree?

RELIGION (from the Latin) religio, (which means) to bind anew

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Religion: I know…it’s just a word. Folks, I am not hung up on semantics. If it were just about words I would have tossed this one aside a long time ago, but it’s more than that. The rationale behind abandoning this or any word varies I suppose, but I submit to you that behind many of these reasons lie unresolved (or perhaps unrealized) sorrows of the heart. In those situations I fear it is easier to change a name then resolve a problem and that I believe is the bigger issue. So I ask, “Is it really the word, or is it something else?”

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks…The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it…Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Luke 6:45, Jeremiah 17:9, Psalms 44:21

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at Calvary Chapel Coastlands.

Read Full Post »

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Overcoming The Times

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Motherhood Marathon

Finding the humor, beauty, and purpose in the mess of motherhood

Greater Cause

Addressing Daily Issues From a Biblical Worldview

Disciples of hope

Living the hope that comes from Christ


Thrift Store Tripping and Frugal Living at its Best

In the Little Things

Finding Meaning in the Madness and the Mundane

The Perfect Dad

Every man dies. Not every man truly parents.


Mark 16:15 Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Let's Talk Gospel

Christian Encouragement and Entertainment

Kendall Lyons

Christ, Cartoons, and Coffee

God charts the road

A road that represents the course of those who desire to follow God

The Master's Meadow

Lush pasture, living springs, and marked paths

Servants' Journal

A blog about Christian life and Biblical teaching.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

%d bloggers like this: