Religious Christianity involves one or both of the following:
- Connection with God is sought through elemental things (sacraments, rituals, candles, vestments, chalices, icons) rather than through Christ, who lives in the heart. Everyone knows the rules, no one knows the Ruler. Everyone knows the system, and no one knows the Savior.
- Human effort is made toward achieving salvation or the righteousness of God (works-based Christianity).
Religious Christianity makes up new rules (traditions and precepts of men), and then commands people to follow these man-made rules in addition to or in lieu of God’s ways (and sometimes “justifies” or proof-texts these rules with scripture).
Ritualistic religion is paganism and idolatry with a twist of “Christianity”. Be careful what “Christian” rites you allow a person to perform on you (realizing that Satanism, freemasonry, witchcraft, and Mormonism also favor rites, and not everyone who claims the title or position of a “Christian” priest or pastor is, in fact, a Christian).
Be careful who you allow to lay hands on you. Even in a purportedly “Christian” setting.
Granted, if you truly have the Spirit of Christ in you, His power outshines and outweighs that of all other evil hands that may touch you.
Much religion patterns after the doctrines of demons and Satan, who can appear as an angel of light. Like him, though it can appear white and pure and bright, religion is full of death.
Religion has the appearance of virtue (and strives to maintain it), without ever knowing or possessing the freely-bestowed righteousness of Christ.
We must realize that Satan doesn’t have a problem with morality.
Ever seen the movie Time Changer?
I just watched it again on my birthday. It was a research project. 😉
The production is kinda hammy, but the message is a powerful and necessary one.
Satan is just fine with morality apart from Jesus.
He doesn’t care if we tell people to clean up their lives and go to church. Or even to be baptized or take communion.
You know what irritates him?
When we acknowledge that there is nothing we can do that can make us right with God, and we need Jesus alone to be pleasing to Him.
Satan hates it when Jesus comes into the picture, and when He is the whole picture.
He hates it when we realize that we must cry out to the Lord Jesus, asking Him to be our salvation and hope – not water, church attendance, church membership, church rites, or any other thing.
When we actually put our hope in Someone – Christ – and something – Him crucified – that can save us.
There is no righteousness apart from Jesus.
Morality is not righteousness. But the righteousness of Christ (given to us when we are saved) produces morality.
We can strive to be kind and “virtuous” and decent all that we want, but to God, our self-manufactured works and our “niceness” are as filthy rags or garments, because they are pursued and performed in our sinful flesh, and we are not abiding in Jesus for strength and righteousness.
Religion is also one of Man’s many methods of tyranny and control.
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side. – Aristotle
Religious Christianity is a counterfeit of true Christianity. But like any respectable counterfeit, it sure looks convincing. It looks right, and only an expert – God, or someone with the Spirit of God (and therefore the vision and discernment of God in them) – can detect that something is off.
Religion is often Christless, even as it speaks about Christ and reads His words. It does not depend on Him for vision, discernment, instruction, or salvation.
Religion is dependent on Man’s faithfulness rather than God’s.
Religion worships Man’s wisdom rather than God’s.
Religion basks in – and leans upon – Man’s power rather than God’s.
I don’t consider the Catholic Church to ever have been a church. But when I look at the Catholic Church, when I look at Anglicanism and what was going on in England, when I look at what was going on in New England, and what goes on today, it seems to me that always, the devil works it out so that the great assumption is: they’re saved. The least amount of time it seems eventually is given to discerning what is the gospel and whether a person is truly saved. If they just walk up front, and pray that prayer, we declare them saved and start discipling them.
You know what a lot of people think that Christianity is? They think Christianity is “you doing all the righteous things you hate, and avoiding all the wicked things you love, in order to go to heaven”. No, that’s a lost man in religion. A Christian is a person whose heart has been changed. They have new affections.
For a more in-depth look at religion and religious Christianity, check out the following links: