What is Religion? – Enemy of Grace

Religion is where a person tries to be made right with God by keeping the law. While it sounds good and reasonable, in reality it is discrediting the work of the cross and the blood that was shed for us. With religion, a 60 year old man would have to go back and make every wrong right and he still couldn’t stand before the Lord with an undefiled heart. Even after all that, the stain of sin wouldn’t really be removed. The man who hanged on the cross wouldn’t have a chance if Jesus was religious!

So what is the problem with religion? It denies the work of Christ and the grace/mercy of God in our lives! The fact is that religion is absolutely devastating to our relationship with God.

Religion is often nothing more than a form of pride and self-righteousness that the devil works diligently to promote in our lives.

Symptoms of dead religion

Before I list these symptoms, I first want to say that you don’t necessarily have to manifest all of them to show a bondage to religion. Satan will use different strokes for different folks. He may cause one person to feel very religious, while he loads the next person down with guilt, shame and condemnation over their past.

Religion cries for justice… relationship cries for mercy

If you feel like others need to pay for their wrongs or face the penalties of their wrong doings, and think nothing about them receiving mercy from Jesus, then you are caught up in a religious mindset. Religion is more interested in seeing people punished and receive justice for their wrongs, than in seeing people repent and receive grace and mercy from God. Religion likes to see people ‘taught lessons’ when they are wrong. Love desires the best for others, and is truly concerned over the other person’s well-being. Love is saddened when it sees a person make wrong choices, whereas religion awaits the day when that person will pay the consequences for their actions. Jesus clearly demonstrated His true love for us on the cross when He said, “Father forgive them!”

Religion attempts to discount sin in our own lives

Somebody who has a religious mindset will find it very difficult to admit when they are wrong. This is nothing more than self-righteous pride. Religion tries to discount the seriousness of sin, so that the person feels better… all while avoiding the Blood of Jesus, which removes even the worse and bloodiest of sins!

The reason we must see the seriousness of sin, is so that we are motivated to turn from it and repent! Dead religion is not interested in true repentance, but rather justifies the wrong as being acceptable for one reason or another. This also discounts the reality of the steep price that Jesus paid for our sins!

Religion does not accept instant forgiveness

Have you ever done something wrong, then felt like you had to ‘feel bad’ for a period of time before you can accept forgiveness for your sin? This is another attempt of the religious mindset to discount our sins, and make time seem to ‘lessen’ the seriousness of our wrongs. Once you repent of a failure, you must instantly accept and believe the truth about the blood of Christ washing that sin away. The very moment you repent of your sin, God forgives you. He does not withhold forgiveness for even a fraction of a second… your sin is forgiven immediately! To delay the acceptance of your forgiveness, is to fall trap of the religious mindset in its attempt to degrade the seriousness of your sin. Somehow, a religious mindset tends to ‘feel better’ about a sin, after a period of time has passed. Time does not make our sins any less; it does not degrade the seriousness of our sin.

Remember, if we discount sin with any excuse (time, good deeds, etc.), then we are discounting the price that Jesus paid for our sin as well. We need to see our sin for what it truly is, and then realize the awesomeness of God’s provision to have that sin removed from our account!

Time is no different than good works in the religious mindset. Good works and passing time both have something in common, they seem to ‘lessen’ the seriousness of our sin and make it seem more ‘forgivable’.

It is absolutely vital that we learn to accept God’s forgiveness, and forgive ourselves the very instant that we repent of our failures. To beat yourself up for a time period before accepting the forgiveness of God is to fall into the trap of a religious mindset.

Religion and grace are enemies

Religion wants nothing to do with grace; it wants to feel like it is right with God because it has somehow earned right standing with God by being good and ‘keeping all the rules’. Grace humiliates religion, because grace admits to weakness and failure. Religion justifies its actions while grace humbly realizes the failure and accepts mercy.

It is a goal of religion to degrade the seriousness of sin, so that it doesn’t feel so bad, thus avoiding the need to repent and receive God’s mercy. In this passage, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for rejecting the mercy of God through John the Baptist’s baptism:

“For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”  (Matthew 21:32)

The Pharisees rejected the grace of God, because the concept of grace humiliated their religious stature.

Religion keeps record of wrongdoing

Not only does religion try to get us to overlook God’s love for us, it will also try to get us to hold things against others out of spite and unforgiveness, while God’s Word tells us that love keeps no record of wrong:

“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity [love] shall cover the multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8)

Now don’t get me wrong, we are to judge the righteous judgment, which is common sense. If a person has not repented of their wrong, but continues in it, we may not be able to trust them with responsibilities that we could trust somebody else with. If you have been abused or raped, then you may not able to trust that person until they have earned their trust again (which may never happen).

While it is important to forgive those who wrong us, it may be foolish to begin trusting them right away. For example, it normally isn’t a good idea to leave your children alone with a child molester. Now if I know that person has truly repented, and sought deliverance, then it might be a different story. Trust can be earned, but we must be wise.

What I am talking about here is when a person continues to brew things in their mind that others have done against them. They will continue to be bitter and hold resentment in their heart while they overlook the love that God has had for them, and fails to have that same love in their heart towards those who have wronged them.

Religion expects and demands of others and self

Religion is a performer; it expects others to hold up to a religious standard, and it also expects you to uphold to high standards as well (self-righteousness). Perfectionism and religion are good friends. Perfectionism says that everything has to be perfect, or else that person is bothered over even the pettiest of things that aren’t up to their standard. Perfectionism criticizes the little things that aren’t right, instead of being thankful for the things that are right. Now don’t get me wrong, we are to do our best for the Lord and feel good about it, but not to the point that we are never satisfied with our work. For example, if you do your best at putting together a sermon, then turn around and criticize yourself afterwards for not doing good enough, that is perfectionism.

Religion feels like it has earned something

Religion expects to receive something because it feels like it has earned it (good deeds / works of the law), while a person who as a genuine relationship with God can have an expectation to receive from God because He has promised it and is faithful (God’s promise). Religion in this case feels as if it deserves something, while relationship is merely believing that what God said is true. Jesus gave us a prime example of this in the Bible:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

Religion is envious of others

Since religion feels as if it has to earn things by fulfilling the law or acts of righteousness, it becomes offended when it sees somebody else who has not ‘earned’ something from God, receive a gift or talent that was not given to them.

Cane had a religious mindset, when he offered his crops as a sacrifice to God, after God had asked for something else. He was furious when God didn’t accept his offering, but God accepted Abel’s; this drove Cane to murder his own brother. In the NT, Jesus is found tying the murder of Abel to the religious people of that day:

“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechariah son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”  (Matthew 23:35-36)

When self-righteousness fails, condemnation sets in

Why? Because when a person who has felt self-righteous fails in a way that they can no longer justify, then condemnation sets in, because they were not relying on the grace and mercy of God in the first place, but placing their faith in their own self-righteousness.

Religion has a hard time trusting God

Since religion wages war against relationship with God, religion has a hard time trusting God, but likes to always feel like things are under control. Just as religion does not embrace the concept of grace, it also is not comfortable with trusting God and yielding control over to Him in our lives. Religion likes to be in control.

Religion is quick to discredit the ministries of others

Religion is very judgmental and is quick to discredit others who are labouring in the kingdom for the sake of Christ. Even if a minister has a few flaws, but the rest of his ministry is bearing good fruit for the kingdom, religion will be quick to overlook all the good fruit, and focus in on the handful of negatives and flaws rather than the good fruit that is evident. Look at how even though Jesus was flawless in everything He did, the religious Jews would criticize him for healing somebody on the sabbath!

Religion is very legalistic

Dead religion is full of legalism. Legalism is strict adherence to the law, but also disguises itself in other ways. For example, a person may be dying of cancer, yet refuse to go to the hospital because they feel like if they go, then they are not trusting God for their healing. That’s not true faith in God’s Word, but rather a form of legalistic fear!

Religion is argumentative and ‘always right’

Religion likes to prove to everybody that it is right, and everybody else is wrong. Religion always feels that its opinion is correct, and everybody else is still learning. This is a form of religious pride which the Pharisees practiced quite well.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

Correction does not settle well with religion

Since religion is ‘always right’, it hates correction from others, even if it was done in a loving manner. Do you hate it when others show you where you’ve been wrong? This is pride and goes along with a religious mindset.

Religion also shakes hands with rebellion

Since religion is always right and does not like to be corrected, it naturally hates God-ordained authority which is in place to correct and to guide that person. Religion wants to feel like it is at the top of the food chain, and that it answers to nobody.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

Fearing the loss of your salvation?

Anytime a person is tormented over the idea of losing their salvation, it is a direct result of a religious mindset or spirit. Why? Because if that person knew the loving and merciful nature of God, they would realize that repentance and acceptance of the work of Christ would restore them to right standing with Him (therefore no need to fear loss of something that you can obtain so easily – after all, it is the gift of God!). Unfortunately, they fear loss of salvation because their way of being right with God is somewhat ‘earned’, and they can never earn right standing with God.

Are you scared or afraid of God?

This is another fruit of the religious mindset. Anybody who truly understands the loving, merciful, and gracious God that we serve would realize that if they will repent of their sins and accept the free gift of God which was paid for on the cross, they will know that they are in right standing with God and that He deeply desires a loving relationship with them.

Fears of the unpardonable sin

This is a common one! As you can see above, if you are tormented over losing your salvation, then it means you are not looking at the loving and merciful nature of God towards us, but rather caught up in a religious mindset. The same concept is true with those who are afraid they’ve committed the unpardonable sin. They don’t realize the loving and merciful nature of their heavenly father, and therefore they feel that He is angry with them and will no longer accept them because of what they’ve done.

This again, is in a sense, earning your right standing with God. If you are truly repentant and have accepted the work of Christ on the cross, then there is no need to be worried about whether or not you are in right standing with God. I have done much research on the unpardonable sin, and to put it in a nutshell, anybody who has truly committed the unpardonable sin will not be interested in having a relationship with God whatsoever. You can read more on this subject in “The Unpardonable Sin” on greatbiblestudy.com.

Religion is prideful and arrogant

Religion is the worse form of pride. It lifts the person up on a self-righteous pedestal, while it sees everybody else as either unworthy. A prime example of this is found in a parable that Jesus told to the religious folks:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

You’ll never feel good enough!

You will never feel good enough for right standing with God, if you are caught up in a religious mindset. No matter how much good you do, or how much you repent of your sins, you will never really have the feeling of “knowing” that they are forgiven, because your religious mindset is actually denying the work of Christ and has made His work in your life to no effect to you.

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”  (Galatians 5:4)

Religious minds are unthankful

Why? Because they feel that they have earned what they have, and are too proud to realize that it was God who gave them everything they own… including their own life! Being thankful means being humble, and this completely crosses the grain of the religious mindset.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  2 Timothy 3:2-5

Religious minds lack self-control

In Second Timothy, it speaks of the attributes of somebody who is religious, and among those things listed is incontinent, which in the Greek means to lack self-control. A person who lacks self-control may be outspoken and blurt out what they feel, not considering what others may think or what God may think of their opinion.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

Religion has its own agenda

Religion drafts up a plan to build a ministry according to human wisdom, which does not require the intervention of God to build and promote his work. That is because religion does not trust God to provide the resources and needed finances that are necessary to carry out the work of Christ.

Religion is all about traditions

Religious people may find themselves caught up in man-made traditions. But the Bible tells us that our religious traditions can actually make the Word of God to no effect in our lives:

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  (Mark 7:13)

Religion displays false humility

Religious people are often found proclaiming that we are mere sinners saved by grace. This sounds humble, but in reality it is disregarding the entire new birth experience that Jesus talked about in the Bible. Look carefully at these passages, and you’ll find that we are no longer sinners, but dead to sin and raised to new life in Christ:

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3)

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:11)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

To say that we are mere sinners saved by grace, when the Bible tells us otherwise, is in reality denying the work of Christ! I have an entire teaching which discusses the difference between a forgiven sinner vs. saint.  Here again, we find religious theology opposing the teachings and work of Christ!

Religion is very judgmental

Love sees the best in others while religion criticizes and judges them by their actions. If Jesus judged us by our actions, we would be hopeless!

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised [meaning to look down upon] others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

Notice how the above verse tells us that they were righteous, and despised others. In the NT Greek, this word despised accurately means to esteem others as less than yourself, or to look down upon them. Religious people base their identity and position with God upon their ability to keep the law (good works), so it is only natural that they look down upon those around them who fail to keep the law as well as they do. If you read the rest of the above passage, it is evident in their actions that they esteemed themselves above others. This is nothing more than religious pride and is detestable in the eyes of God.

Religion is the opposite of love

Religion says, “Prove yourself faithful, then I will accept and love you.” God’s love for us says, “I love you for who you are, and I want to remove the barrier of sin between us. I will send my own Son to die in place of your sins, and if you will just believe that this is true, I will indeed forgive your sins and clothe you with my righteousness!”

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

It is clear from the verse above that God loves us for who we are, not because of anything we have done. It is indeed the gift of God, and not something that we could ever earn.

“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:7-9)

Jesus demonstrated the deep and awesome love of God when He laid down His life for us. Jesus even said that there is no greater way to demonstrate your love for somebody, than to lie down your life for them:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)

All the while, religion sits there and says, “I have earned my relationship with God… I deserve God’s goodness, because I have been good.” Look at this parable Jesus told of the religious man versus the humble sinner who repents before the Lord:

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  (Luke 18:9-14)

If you’re going before the Lord, feeling that you’ve done something to earn His grace and mercy, then you can forget about it! As we can see from this passage, God is not interested in self-righteousness, but rather a humble and contrite heart. The Bible says that it is a broken and contrite heart that the Lord will not despise.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  (Psalms 51:17)

A more accurate picture of God’s love and mercy is found in the book of Hosea or for a more brief look at God’s love, be sure to read Jeremiah 3:11-22:

“And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.  Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.  Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.  Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:  And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.  And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.  At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.  In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.  But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.  Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.  A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.  Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 3:11-22)

God’s Word goes on to tell us that it is by God’s great love for us, that we are drawn to repentance:

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”  (Romans 2:4)

Also look at this scripture:

“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Religion voids the work of Christ

Religion is something that keeps scores of people from receiving what Christ has purchased for them! It denies the work of Christ and the love of God, rejecting the mercy that God wants so dearly for us to receive, and puts up an invisible mental wall between us and the love of God. The Bible tells us that if you are trying to be made right with God by good works, then you have fallen from the grace of God, and the work of Christ is of no effect to you:

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”  (Galatians 5:4)

It is no wonder Satan works so diligently to infect God’s people with a religious mindset!

Appearing godly but denying the power

Today there are countless Christians who seem to appear righteous, but inside they are full of evil and darkness. Take a look at this passage in scripture:

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”  (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

This is speaking about people who appear to be godly, but are inside corrupt and full of dead religion. That is a pretty strong passage in scripture, but it gives us a glimpse into what dead religion looks like. While they may appear to be righteous, they are denying the power of God to save them and forgive their sins. If you’ve found yourself thinking, “My sins aren’t that bad…” then you’ve experienced the workings of a religious mindset. Let us not forget, our sin carries the death penalty… it is worthy of death! That’s how serious that God wants us to be concerning sin.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

Remember Adam? He didn’t bring sin into the world by murdering anybody… he was simply disobedient to God and ate some fruit which God told him not to, and look at how serious of an affect his one sin had on the entire human race! Also consider this passage where Jesus gives a stern warning concerning how serious sin really is:

“And if thy hand offend thee [causes you to sin], cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.”  (Mark 9:43)

The Holy Spirit has shown me that we cannot realize the truly awesome forgiving power of God until we realize the seriousness of sin! Until we realize how serious that our sin is, we cannot truly appreciate what Christ has done for us. Whenever we discount our sin, we are discounting the price that Jesus has paid for our sin.

The idea of sin being serious business does not settle well with the religious mindset. Why? Because religion has no real way to overcome sin or make up for our failures. The religious person feels forgiven, not because of the mercy of God, but because their sins weren’t all that bad, and so it was no big deal for God to forgive them. Excuse me, but sin carries the death penalty and Jesus gave his life so that we might be forgiven! The dangerous thing is that most people with a religious mindset don’t even realize what is going on.

We need to realize two things: (a) the awfulness of our sin and (b) the awesomeness of Jesus’ work on the cross as payment to forgive even the bloodiest of sins! God’s Word tells us that though our sins be as red as crimson (which I believe represents murderous bloodshed), He desires to make us as white as snow:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  Isaiah 1:18

It may feel good to discount our failures, but it also discounts the Blood of Jesus and the steep price that Jesus paid for us on the cross. It doesn’t just feel good, but it is life-changing when we come to realize what Jesus truly went through for our sins, and how the price has been paid IN FULL for our forgiveness.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 3:24)

Being justified, according to NT Greek, means to be rendered innocent or just as if you’ve never sinned. God’s Word also goes on to tell us that through the work of Christ, we can be clothed with the righteousness of God!

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.” (Romans 3:22)

Religion makes people ignorant of God’s righteousness, and attempts to establish righteousness apart from the work that Christ did for us on the cross. We need to believe upon the work of Christ on the cross and receive HIS righteousness!

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”  (Romans 10:3)

Religion is prideful and degrades the seriousness of sin, while true humility admits when it is wrong and accepts the work of Christ on the cross and thereby receives grace and forgiveness for their sins.

Jesus and religion are enemies

Jesus was furious with those who promoted dead religion!

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechariah son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.”  (Matthew 23:23-36)

Why was Jesus so furious with those who promoted dead religion? Because dead religion leads His children astray, getting them to deny the very work that Christ has done for them on the cross. Let’s not forget, God’s children are VERY dear to Him, and when you cause one of His children to stumble, He takes it personally:

“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”  (Luke 17:1-4)

Religion is a roadblock

Religious strongholds will keep us from knowing God intimately and receiving what was freely given to us (peace with God, healing, deliverance, etc.). This mindset will deny the very means of our reconciliation with the Father, and that is the work of Christ on the cross. The Jesus presented in religious theology is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the Bible does not condemn you like the religious Jesus does:

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.  John 8:10-11

Religion also keeps many non-believers from accepting Jesus; they feel that they’ve made too many mistakes to be accepted and cleansed of their past. They think that religion means that they must earn their good standing with God, and because of their past, it looks hopeless. The truth is that Jesus loves us for who we are, not what we’ve done, and before we even came to Christ, He laid down His life for us:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

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