I borrowed this dialog from my friend Richard Glenn. His blog Truth From the Hip. He is an avid blogger and purveyor of truth. Thought you might like this discussion on religion. This is what Richard says….
That’s a great question because religion is one of the most misunderstood and abused words in the world of faith. Are you aware that religion can either be a good thing or a bad thing? Yes, contrary to most full gospel, independent Christians there is such a thing as “good religion”. Alright then, what is it? James 1:27 tells us that, “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.” New Living translation.
That is “good” religion. Caring for the needs of one another and walking out our salvation in this world through our actions. And yet, even though they are the right thing for a Christian to do, they cannot earn you your salvation. And then there is another, more well known understanding of religion. It’s the ultimate deception, if you will. It’s the ill-conceived thought that man can somehow earn his right to eternal life in heaven by obeying certain rules, performing certain rituals, perfect church attendance and doing enough good works. Not so. And that’s the “religion” most people are familiar with. That is the false religion.
Simply put, bad (or false) religion is man’s attempt to worship the God he doesn’t have a personal relationship with. And he has been led to think that by faithfully performing ceremonial duties God will approve of his efforts, overlook or somehow forgive his sin without coming through His Son, and let him earn a right into heaven. False religion is a deadly form of worship because it never takes into account the sacrifice of Jesus for the remission of sin. They recognize the cross of Jesus but they do not feel Jesus’ sacrifice was enough. They are still trying to earn salvation because without a relationship with the Lord they are not sure they have it.
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