Faith vs Religion

Religion as a rule is a human nature thing. We tend to think of religion as something that makes us better people. And in a social setting it actually does. Because if you believe that not stealing is making you a better person, then a society will be better where there is no theft. That is just common sense.

But from a Biblical point of view, God does not ask us to be religious. He does not ask us to obey a whole bunch of rules to please Him. Often when you ask people, ‘What are you supposed to do to be okay with God?’ Every single person will give you a different answer. Some will say, ‘You know what, you shouldn’t be naughty, you shouldn’t steal, drink or smoke’. Others will say, ‘You should be a good person’ (although they cannot always define what a good person is). Or they will say something like ‘I love my wife and my kids’. Others will say ‘You must go to church’. Others will say you must go to a mosque or a synagogue or one of the other religious temples. Somebody else might even say, ‘You must have peace in your heart. You should live in peace with others.’ Others will say ‘You must do these rituals. You should sacrifice something to be okay with God’.

The Bible actually teaches something completely different. The Bible says to be okay with God, you must believe and it is not something you do. And that is the difference between faith and religion. Faith is: I trust Someone Else to do what is needed for me to be okay, where religion says: I must do something (or abstain from bad things) to be acceptable to God. The problem with that is the Bible is very clear that God is not impressed with anything we do.

The Bible says that our best works are like dirty, filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). The reason is very simple. God has already done something to save us. He has already done something to set us free. That something is when Jesus died on the cross. He also rose again from the grave and sat at the right hand of the Father so that He can intercede for us, even to this day. He is the one that is ministering to us life eternal. It is not the other way around. We don’t do something for life eternal. We don’t do something for salvation. He gives it as a free gift to us.

What we must do is believe and trust on Him that He has done what was needed to be saved. Now some would say, ‘I do believe’. But the Bible is clear that even the devils believe. It is a type of belief. So Biblical faith is: I trust that Jesus loves me. I trust that He has forgiven me, every single sin I’ve had. Every single sin I’ve done.

You see the problem is I can’t do anything to get rid of my sin. My sin and even my good works are ugly to God. But Jesus can wash my sins away with His blood. That’s why He died. Often times we as people with a religious nature tend to want to help Him clean our sins. Even in the church, even born again Christians, will sometimes try to help God wash their sins away. It is only Jesus that saves, nothing else. But here’s the good news: Jesus loves you. He loves me. He wants to save us. All we have to do is ask Him: “Lord, save me, please.” It’s as simple as that.

(Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@joshapplegate)

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