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RELIGION or  Relationship?

A recent poll taken says that 67% of Americans believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. If one was to choose which religious system they would join, truth would not be a criteria. They would choose what appeals to them, what feels right or what works for them (pragmatism). Unfortunately what works is no test for truth It seems our society has had a radical shift from what was clearly understood as standards to inventing ones own. Different religions may work for different people but giving people personal choice does not solve the issues of life, death ,or God.

As a society we are so afraid of diseases and plagues we do much to prevent their spread, but there is a more fatal disease, one that has affected everyone on this planet… that is sin, so we can add one more item to death and taxes that we all share. Although this particular one needs to be settled now not later.

Sin is something society does not want to hear about or believe in. Its become religiously incorrect to mention such a point . But all one has to do is look around us to see the activity and expression of what sin is. Murder, acts of inhumanity, even to those of their own flesh and blood. Society is filled with thieves, liars and selfish people coveting what others have.  While these violate other peoples lives we still have to acknowledge that we keep company with it ourselves. Even if we don’t hurt another soul we still have sinful desires within us. What is called love today can be called sin when it practiced beyond the confines of marriage as God ordained. That's right even when a man and woman say they love each other if they don't enter into a lifelong commitment is it really love?

Even in religions (and Christianity) some which claim to be the church do not want to mention sin or teach we are in that state. Man from the time of Adam has become a sinner by nature. We do not become sinners because of what we do . We sin because that is our nature it is an outward expression of who we are. We sin because we are sinners by nature, only Adam sinned by choice and all of mankind are Adam's descendents. We all know about genes, the gene pool of Adam was corrupted and passed on to every person, this is why we are sinners, fallen creatures. This does not discount that we can do good no matter what religious persuasion we are or even if one is an atheist. However as we will see it does not merit any type of right standing before God.

Religions can be summed up as the leaky bucket syndrome. You have one leaky bucket and look for another bucket you pour the water out into the new one only to find this too has a hole. You seek for another and pour the water out only to find it too has a hole. You continue to do this but none of them hold the water any better than the first. The modern world we live in today is filled with a multiplicity of faith's. God comes in many shapes and sizes and choosing can be much like shopping for a popular item in a supermarket. How is one to know what is right or what is true. There is an agreement in most all religions that their is a God and one can be accepted by him by doing certain rituals and practices.

The fallen nature of man loves religion, it caters to his well being it bolsters the ego and develops mans self esteem. The gospel is the opposite of religion, it humbles the pride of man and changes his focus from self dependent to God dependent. Religion is man trying to reach to God by his own deeds, the gospel is God reaching man. All religions invented by man try to please their creator without ever knowing if they are sure but only hope it is true. Christianity has proven that its message is true by the one who personally delivering it coming from heaven.

What if I gave an example of one having a billion dollars in the bank and all they had to do to own it was to believe it was put there, and act like a billionaire. If given the choice of being a pauper or a billionaire what would you choose. The gospel teaches we are paupers, but God is willing to give us his spiritual riches. We go from rags to riches, he gives us his beauty for our ashes. And it lasts for eternity.

Religion does not promote spirituality but hinders it. It makes one obey from the outside without any real change of our nature from the inside.

I wouldn't walk across the street for religion, but I am willing to go around the world for the sake of the Gospel. There is a great difference between the two.

Religion is man-made; the Gospel is God-given.

Religion is what man does for God; the Gospel is what God did for man.

Religion is man's search for God; the Gospel is Gods search for man.

Religion is man trying to climb up the ladder of his own self-righteousness, with the hope of meeting God on the topmost rung; the gospel is God coming down the ladder in the incarnation of Jesus Christ and meeting us sinners at the lowest rung.

C. Horton (1910) “C. Horton (1910) “How wide is the distinction between the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and that other gospel of which Paul speaks, and which is indeed no gospel [Gal 1:6-9.... (that other gospel) teaches that man is not so very bad; that he has a Divine spark .... It tells man to cheer up, think good thoughts, believe in himself, turn over a new leaf, chip in and help keep the wheels of the Church machinery moving, and everything will come out right in the end. This gospel denies the personality of Satan and the punishment of the wicked; it has a heaven, but no hell; a Christ but no Cross; a leader, but no Lord .... [It has soft words for sinners .... [At its shrines it serves soothing sophistries to itching cars. In the place of Scripture facts it has silly fables; it denies the doctrines of the Bible and dishes up doctrines of devils .... The gospel of gush has no grip upon men. The demand of the day is for strong, sturdy preachers of the pure Gospel of grace, and zealous followers of the living God.”

So many try to please God with some kind of religious service. They ride on their bikes to knock on your door, they sell flowers on the side of the road for their religious master. They say prayers over and over again hoping God will hear better. They ask those who lived good lives to bring their prayers to god because they are saints. They chant names to have his blessing and power, they twist themselves into a pretzel and meditate to know nothing to learn everything. What appears spiritual can many times be misleading if not checked. We trust so easily in what we can see. Our own works can sometimes become the motivation to prove we’re right with God.  wpe21.jpg (4377 bytes)

People claim to live by the golden rule not knowing what it requires. They claim to keep the law. But sincerity to do right doesn’t make someone accepted before God. No one will make heaven by there own obedience to Gods laws. Cults always confuse obedience to laws and church with keeping gaining or keeping ones salvation.

  The law is bad news! Long before Satan paganized the Church he tried to Judaize it, this was done by having them be confused which covenant to live under. Law and grace are mutually exclusive they cannot be combined. When we come to the New Testament Jesus defines what true law keeping is in his sermon on the mount. The sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 5 was not meant to be the “golden rule” for Christian ethics or for the people of the world. The Pharisees kept the letter of the law. They thought if they did not steal or kill they were not guilty. Jesus went further showing them that the true righteousness of the law is how one acts on the inside. What it really demanded was not an outward obedience but it had an inward intent of obedience. Someone would violate the righteousness of the law long before they commit the physical act. If one hated his brother they would be guilty of murder in the heart long before they committed the act. However, the Pharisees considered themselves not guilty because they never did the physical act of murder They made the law of no effect because it did not affect the inner man. The true conformity to the Law of Moses was internal not external. The law did not make one righteous but showed how unrighteous they really were. God requires truth on the inward parts. The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul.”

Rom. 4:15 “Because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

Before the law came there were no transgressions. The standard was to make sin a violation, to make clear a known boundary. Was there sin in the world ? of course, but there was no righteous standard to reveal the violation. The law made man conscious of what he is doing. What was always morally wrong then became legally wrong. To give a practical example. If one is driving 70 mph. on the freeway the set standard speed limit is 55 Mph., So he is breaking the law. But lets say he is only going 45 Mph. on another road, it looks like he is obeying until he comes to a sign that says 35 Mph., so he is still breaking the law. A standard makes what one is doing evident and gives the guidelines for obedience which are nothing short of perfect obedience.

Is the law the motivation to live a holy life, it demands it, but has no power to deliver it , it does the opposite. 1 Cor.15:56 says the law is the strength of sin, the very thing people claim to keep gives power for the opposite affect.

Rom.5:20: “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might increase…” Here we are told the law stirred up what is in the corrupt heart of man. It didn’t make man corrupt but only brought out what was already there.

Lets say you never speed on the highway and you do it this one time and get caught by a policeman. He pulls you over and you say officer I’m sorry I’ve never done this before let me go I promise to never do this again. Try it sometime , it won’t work with a policeman and it certainly won’t work with God. If you obey all your doing is what is required of you. Your still guilty of breaking the law.

Rom. 3:19-20:  “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law {comes} the knowledge of sin”.

This is the same law Paul speaks about that condemns and makes one guilty it includes the 10 commandments and anything else contrary to God. The law was given to show man could not meet the requirements of God. If you put yourself under the law you will sin, It has no power, its for those who operate in the flesh to know they fall short of his standard. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” The laws intent was to increase ones ability to sin, to exaggerate its practice so it would be evident. 

1 Tim. 1:9-11: “realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,... The law is to convict those who do not know God.

Think about this if we can all do what we want then where is the line drawn. What is sin for you may not be for the next persons own standard. So why would raping or molesting a child be wrong if someone else accepts it as their own standard. If we all measure our morals by what we feel then when someone beats or murders another it may not be as wrong to them, so who are you to judge ! This is why there must be an ultimate standard.

Right now you may be saying Well I’m a good person I don’t do these things. I’ve never killed anyone or committed adultery. The bible says God requires truth on the inward parts an impossibility on our own. We like to measure ourselves by ourselves. We can always find someone worse off than us, we usually don’t look the other way to the higher standard. If you live a good life and believe you will be accepted by God because of this, then you have just become your own savior!

Some claim their good deeds outweigh their bad so they can be accepted into heaven . But God doesn’t grade on the curve like this. Imagine going to a judge and telling him after committing a crime, that although you have done some bad thing your good certainly outweighs your bad. He would then say, (if he went by the law) your acts of obedience do not make up for this one act of disobedience, the punishment must be met. God demands perfect justice for the offense committed.scale_truth_justice_.gif (14100 bytes)

What if I held up a scale with good works against your bad works for balance. What if I held up another scale of your good works and Christ was measure. What would you ask for from God his justice or his mercy ? The Bible tells us their is no one who does good, Rom.3 “not one nor anyone who seeks after God.” The Barna report says 77 % of evangelicals believe man is good by nature, something is being missed in the translation from the pulpit to the Pugh's. Israel sunk to its lowest depths as a nation who once knew God, in the end of the book of judges it says that everyone did what was right in their own eyes. We are repeating their mistake.

What are the Basic Differences Between Religion and the Gospel?

Religion says, “Do good, keep on doing good, and eventually you will become good.' The gospel says, “First of all, you must become good by the grace of God, and then it shall follow as day follows night that you win do good.”

Religion says, “Tell the truth, keep on telling the Truth, and you will become honest.' 'The gospel says, “First of all be honest in heart and then you will tell the truth.”

Religion places the emphasis on principles, precincts. Religion places the emphasis on principles, precincts, codes and creeds. The Gospel places the emphasis on a Person.

  Religion says. “attain” by your own deeds. The Gospel says “obtain” by what Jesus did.

Religion places the prime emphasis upon your doing. Religion places the prime emphasis upon your doing. The Gospel places the emphasis upon being.

Religion claims mans merit in the work he does; the Gospel calls on Gods mercy in the work that he did.

Religion says attempt the Gospel says accept to Receive.

Religion says 'try”; the Gospel says trust.

Religion says “develop yourself” the Gospel says deny yourself.”

Religion says man is good, the Gospel says man is not.

Religion is always threatened by Jesus' teaching on grace...Why?

Religion says, 'Do! Do this and do that and you might make it.” The gospel says, “It is done! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, then you do your deeds out of love!”

Religion says 'save yourself; the Gospel says surrender yourself.

Salvation comes not by believing in God but in the gospel.

All religions recognize Jesus as a great teacher or prophet. however they all demote him to be just one of many other teachers and they will elevate man as having the potential to be just like him, almost every religion that has come along since Christ includes his name or teaching since he can’t be excluded. Yet among all these spiritual teachers there is only one who stands contrary to their opinion, Jesus.

The solution from the other religions vary in some ways but they all have a common denominator. That all state we can pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. That man is inherently good.

Bahai's claim that by education we can see mankind have what Christ alone promises they deny that there is any sin to deal with. That Christ is only one who is God in a succession of manifestations, Baha'u'lla is greater despite that he is dead and buried and waiting to be judged.

Mormons- Mormons say There is no sin passed on . Christ died for only some of our sins not all of them. And that they receive salvation by working and obeying the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church.

Jehovah's Witnesses - To be right with God you must join their church and be found working going door to door when he comes or else your snuffed out.

As in Islam Jesus is a prophet in the line of many prophets  and that Muhammad is greater. That he didn’t die for our sins nor did he resurrect. We can be cleansed from our sins by doing what is right. Hopefully he will accept us but there is no guarantees. All these religions have a common denominator and that is Works are involved for one to be accepted by God.

We can’t be left to our own opinions of who Jesus is but need to listen to what he said of himself .Either he told the truth or he lied. If it is not the absolute truth than we shouldn’t pay attention to anything he says and he is not a good teacher either.

While all the religions use Jesus, Jesus never quotes from any other writings than the bible. But it seems all the others quote from the bible and Jesus. Why? because anyone who recognizes good has to recognize Jesus , he was the ultimate good In a human being. Of course he was more than what would meet the eye he was God.

Religion may give you something to live by, but Christianity will give you something to die by.

Religion leans on books of instruction, while Christianity stands on the Book of inspiration. While many people die for what they believe is the truth no one dies for what they know is a lie, especially numerous followers (millions).

There are many gospels of supposition, but only one gospel that saves (1 Cor. I5: 1-4).

There may be a bit of truth in each religion, but Christianity alone is altogether true.

Religion talks about a god but it is only empty philosophy since it has no way of knowing if it is correct; Christianity alone reveals the true God. '

There is wide assortment of religion, but Christianity is unique, absolute, and final.

Acts 1:3 He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” these were written down

2 Pet 1:16-17: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Are there many ways to God? Jesus made it clear that most people are on the broad way, the interstate of life leads straight to hell (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus made it very clear that “many “ religious leaders miss Heaven (vs. 21-23). Jesus exposed the religious hypocrites. He said they were headed for hell! (Matthew 23:33). Dear soul, are you on the broad way or the narrow way? What does God's Word say about the way?

We need a savior not more rules and regulations for our behavior. We need the power of God for a change of heart .

What Doesn’t Save

A church can’t save. Salvation is not church membership but relationship. Worshipping can’t. One can  worship God  but for true worship to be done it must be in spirit and in truth,  Your Baptism can’t change the fallen nature of man. You go down a dry sinner you’ll come up a wet one. can’t, worshipping can’t, your Baptism can’t change the nature of man. You go down a dry sinner you’ll come up a wet one.

Neither can keeping the laws, which is salvation by obedience. Or keeping a day such as the Sabbath day can’t, its only a shadow of the true substance which is greater.

Your good works and conscientious help and love to the poor do not merit gods favor and is actually a  affront to what he offers freely by Christ.

Mary the mother of Jesus humanity can’t save either she needed help too, she’s just another saint in heaven praising the Lord for his salvation. the mother of Jesus humanity can’t save either she needed help too, she’s just another saint in heaven praising the Lord for his salvation.

Even your prayers can’t save, without you praying a one time prayer of repentance by faith all your prayers cannot merit right standing before God. If you don’t turn to your life over to God he can’t hear the prayer of a sinner.

Neither can knowledge or Doctrine, because if your right on everything and have not met the risen savior with a change of heart by a new nature its all for nothing. First comes grace then comes the true knowledge. 

What saves then. Only God can save through Christ. No one can be good enough on their own. God has already done the work it is finished over 1960 yrs. ago. We are not saved by our own goodness, behavior or works but by grace.

Why in the world do you want to add to it today by something you can’t do. Jesus Christ who is God became man only once and died only once accomplishing what none of us can. He alone has the key to free someone from their jail cell of sin. This is Gods way, a simple single rd. that everyone can come to him by.

Gods way is a person so that even the children can come to him without complicating rules to remember . All religions claim to reach to God but Christianity is different it is God seeing our predicament and reaching down to man. He took the initiative out of love and we are given a choice to respond. No other religion has this simplicity.

Christianity is summed up in the person of Christ. If you take Buddha out of Buddhism, Mohammed out of Islam…,Krishna out of Hinduism…, Baha'u'lla out of Bahaism…you still have their teachings, they are all doing quite well without their teacher being alive today. If you take Christ out of Christianity, if he didn’t rise you have nothing. Religions “ point to' the graves of their a leaders, no matter how brave or how ingenious they all lie there waiting for their day to stand before the God they wanted to know; only Christianity points to an empty tomb         

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Do all Roads. Lead to God. Yes! They certainly do- but not all Roads lead to God with the same results. Only one Road leads to him in forgiveness, fellowship and eternal life. All other Roads lead to him in judgment, so the other religions are partially right. But I don’t want to be traveling on the rd of judgment with them. What are you hoping for on the day of reckoning. On the day of resurrection you can be raised in your sins or apart from them. How Are you going to be raised? Incorruptible or to suffer even more for your corruption. There are no second chances once its over. Its been said on the day we appear before him, we will find Gods love is greater than we thought, sin was more destructive and Jesus was more needed.

Religion is operated by the fallen nature, only those who believe the Gospel receive the Spirit and operate in God. Religion puts people in spiritual and psychological bondage, the Gospel frees someone into the ultimate liberation of their soul.

Religion is good views on life; the gospel is good news about eternal life.

Religion is good advice to man; the gospel is a glorious announcement to mankind.

Religion takes a man and leaves him as he is; the gospel takes a man as he is and makes him what he ought to be

Religion leads to an outer reformation; the gospel leads to an inner transformation. Once the inside is transformed the outward will certainly follow.

Religion whitewashes the truth; the Gospel washes white with the truth.

Religion often becomes a farce; the Gospel is always a force, it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.

There are many religions for many cultures, but there is only one Gospel for all cultures for all time.

Many people are afraid thinking what will my friends think of me? It takes a strong person and individual thinker to make a decision on his own and not care about others opinions of himself. Do your friends care for your soul more than God?

The Bible asks what will a man give in exchange for his soul, trading in our religion for a relationship is not a loss but a eternal gain. Don't procrastinate today is the day of salvation!

(some quotes adapted from Mel Johnson tips for Teens radio for young people)         




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