You would think that we could turn in our Bible to a specific place and read “Religion is a bad thing,” but that’s not the case. Now, before you get stirred up, what does religion mean to you, and why?
If I used the word “redemption,” what would that mean to you, and why? When Christians use words like redemption, they refer to Ephesians 1:7, or Colossians 2:14, but when we hear the word religion, very few of us think of James 1: 26-27, because we have been speaking against the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
James 1:26-27 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. NKJV
If we accepted and believed Romans 10:6-8 today, we would be careful not to speak against the faith. Why? The righteousness of faith, which is what the promise given to Abraham is based on (Romans 4:13), included saying certain things, which are in-line with the faith, and not speaking things that are against the faith. However, today that’s a lost doctrine in this country.
Romans 10:6-9 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): NKJV
A few years ago, I heard a so-called Christian song containing the words “I’ll be glad when religion finally dies” in it. They probably still play it today along with many other songs that are against the faith. Everyone gladly shouted that false doctrine to the top of their voices, and that is one of the reasons why we are not careful to follow James 1:26-27 today.
That one song was probably not the start of the falling away, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. The start of it was over a hundred years ago, when we stopped preaching Romans 10:6-8, and started jumping straight to Romans 10:9, while leading new converts to Christ.
However, if we had a revival, a real returning to the Lord in accordance with what is written in His Word, and not some dog and pony show, we would not call religion a bad thing? God also instructs us not to call what is good, evil, but again, we have long welcomed the world’s ways right inside the church.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! NKJV
Knowing these passages of scripture, do you think that the Spirit of God would lead us into calling religion, evil, or have we followed deceiving spirits in keeping with 1 Timothy 4:1-2 below?
1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, NKJV
No doubt, we have followed something other than the Word of God concerning religion, as well as many other subjects clearly written in the Word of God; eternal salvation, baptism, stopping sin, knowing Jesus, bearing fruit, repentance, etc. It’s time to repent and return to the Lord our God, in keeping with His ways, which are written in His Word before it is too late.
I’m Alan Ballou; a servant