- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about religion?
Mic 6:6-8, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Does God want our offerings, or is He asking us to respond to His love by passing it on to everyone we meet?
Jam 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Is God telling us that true religion requires action? Is He saying it is more than a mental exercise? Is 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
1 Tim 2:1-4, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Is God saying that this is the beginning of the process to fulfillment of the great commission? Are we to first pray for those in power, giving thanks for all we have and then to obey all laws, which will lead us to a peaceful life? Would all the discord and stress caused by our fruitless ranting about politics dissipate? Would we then draw closer to each other? Is not the true purpose of religion to lead us to God and help others find the same path? Are others not drawn to those who live a peaceful life? Would a peaceful life not make this path easier?
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Religion should lead us to righteousness, peace and joy. If it does not, then it is not from God.
Jn 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Is God telling us that any other teaching is not from Him? Of course, other ways have good teaching in them, just not all of the good that Jesus taught. Did God come to earth so that we might know His way is the only way to righteousness?
Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” When we believe, we seek the path to God and His righteousness. Is God telling us we cannot find righteousness on our own? Is He telling us the devil will use our lack of faith to lead us away from God? Matt 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Col 2:6-8, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Can man make a religion equal to the one God has offered us?
Jn 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Did God come to us in the form of a man, Jesus, so that we might know what real religion is, the act of demonstrating our love for others?
Eccl 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Is this the message Jesus came to affirm? Matt 25:34-36, “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” When we love like God does, it shows in everything we do! Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
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