DID YOU KNOW THAT RELIGION CAN NEVER SATISFY GOD? – THAT RELIGION DOES NOT SAVE ANYONE
Man has been called a religious animal. The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics lists hundreds of ways in which men have tried to satisfy their religious longings and feelings. They have worshiped the sun, moon and stars; earth, fire and water; idols of wood, stone and metal; fish, birds and animals. They have worshiped countless gods and spirits which have been the products of their own perverted imagination. Others have attempted to worship the true God through a vast variety of sacrifices, ceremonies, sacraments and services. But religion, however sincere, can never solve man’s sin problem, for at least three reasons:
1). Religion can never satisfy God. Religion is man’s attempt to make himself right with God, but any such attempt is futile because even man’s best efforts are flawed and so are unacceptable to God. The Bible could not be clearer; “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).” This text condemns all our acts of goodness as nothing more than “filthy rags” in the eyes of God. Self-righteousness is condemned throughout the Bible. Paul explained that we cannot do anything to save ourselves or earn our salvation, but that our salvation comes only as a result of God’s grace (Eph.2:8-9). On our own, our “righteousness” is simply self-righteousness and vanity; hypocritical religion produces nothing more than “filthy rags.”
2). Religion can never remove sin. Your virtues can never cancel out your vices. Good deeds can never remove bad ones. If a person gets right with God it is “not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:9).” No religious efforts or experiences can cancel out a single sin. Christening, infant baptism, confirmation, holy communion, mass, churchgoing, prayers, Bible study, gifts, sacrifices of time and effort or anything else can not cancel out a single sin.
3). Religion can never change man’s sinful nature. A person’s behavior is not the problem, only the symptom. The heart of man’s problem is the problem of man’s heart and by nature man’s heart is corrupt and depraved. Going to church and taking part in religious ceremonies may make you feel good, but they cannot make you good. “Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!”(Job 14:4)
Some of the religious activities mentioned above are obviously good in themselves. For example, it is right to go to church, to read the Bible and to pray, because God tells us to do these things. But you dare not rely on them to make you right with God. Not only are they powerless to do so; but trusting and putting your faith in them thinking you’re right with God only adds to your condemnation.
So, is there an answer? Yes, there is, and God has provided it. The central message of the Bible is summed up in these words: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” While God hates sin, He loves sinners and longs to forgive them. But how can a sinner be justly pardoned when God’s law demands his spiritual and physical death? Only God could solve that problem, and He did so in the person of Jesus Christ. “The Father has sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 John 4: 14).”
God, the Son, became a man by taking upon Himself human nature. Although Jesus became fully man, He remained fully God. The Bible says that “in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form (Col.2:9).” He remained as completely God as if He had not become man. He became as completely man as if He were not God. Jesus Christ is therefore unique, and the Bible confirms this in many ways. His conception was unique. He had no human father but was conceived in the virgin’s womb by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. His words were unique: people were “amazed at His teaching, because His message had authority. ” His miracles were unique: He went about “healing every disease and sickness among the people, and on several occasions even raised the dead.” His character was unique: He was “tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” so that God the Father could say of Him, “This is my Son Whom I Love; with Him I Am Well Pleased.”
Notice the last sentence! This means that as a man Jesus kept the law of God in every part and therefore was not subject to sin’s double death penalty (physical and spiritual). Yet He was arrested on a trumped-up charge, sentenced on false evidence, and eventually crucified at Jerusalem. But His death was not a ‘freak’ or an unavoidable accident. It was all part of God’s set purpose and knowledge. God, the Father, sent the Son for the very purpose of paying sin’s death penalty and Jesus willingly came to do just that. In His own words, the purpose of His coming into the world was “to give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).” In other words: Jesus came into the world to die; to die as a substitute for my sins and your sins – in fact, for all the sins of the world: past, present and future sins; never to be remembered again. The only thing that can keep you from going to heaven is not your sins but your rejection of Christ Jesus and what He did for you on Calvary’s cross nearly 2000 years ago. It is all of Him and none of me – I can only cling to His righteousness.
His death, like His life, was unique. In raising Christ from the dead, God powerfully demonstrated that He accepted His death in the place of us sinners as the full and perfect payment of sin’s penalty and as the basis on which He can offer a full and free pardon to those who would otherwise be doomed to spend eternity separated from God in a place reserved for unbelievers which God calls ‘hell.’
Clearly, God did not create us or come to earth to start a religion. In fact, God deplores religion and those doing religious works. You just have to read chapter 23 of Matthew and see where Jesus pronounces eight woes (warnings) on the proud religious leaders and the religious establishment of His day. Jesus called them hypocrites and closing off in verse 33, He utters these thunderous words; “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”
You see dear friends, it’s not about a religion at all. It’s not about buildings, priests, rules, traditions or ceremonies. It’s all about a love relationship with the God of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ, who was the atoning sacrifice for all our sins. There is really no ‘religion’ to it, just true faith from your heart in Christ Jesus and what His death accomplished for you on Calvary’s cross. It is all of Him and what He did for us sinners and none of what we can do (works) to earn our salvation. All we can do is accept His free gift to us, which is eternal life, and all we can say is ‘thank you,’ Lord Jesus and cling to His righteousness.
The fact is God has all the angels in heaven to look after and administer to all of His needs. The plain truth is: God doesn’t need
us, but we need Him. According to Scripture His purpose for creating you and me was for His pleasure, for His fellowship, so that we can have an intimate relationship with Him – it’s called love. God can choose to live anywhere in the universe, but He created you and He chose your heart – to live in you by His indwelling Spirit. God created you and loves you so much that He wants you to get to know Him and to spend eternity with Him. Once again, it’s not about churches, rules, priests, ceremonies or traditions. It’s all about a love relationship with your Creator and not a religion.
Many of you may be thinking: “If God didn’t create religion then who did?” The Bible says that Satan is “the god of this world.” The Bible is conveying the idea that Satan rules over the unbelieving world in a specific way. His great powers are seen in the effectiveness of his deceptive ministry: in the church and in the realm of religion, where he is most active. His specialty is religion. He is the originator of religion, starting off with the Tower of Babel in Babylon. He tries to infiltrate and corrupt churches and religious institutions with his type of false ministers, deacons, elders, priests and all other types of church workers. He tries to institute his programs (false doctrines) and activities in the church so that God’s Word will become neglected and His will concealed (liberalism).
Satan is God’s adversary and would love to get you into religion and doing religious works and will do everything in his power to keep you from intimately knowing Jesus and having an intimate relationship with God. He infiltrates the churches to deceive them: he twists the words of God and totally confuses people to where they don’t know right from wrong anymore. Satan often disguises error with a veneer of truth. Satan seeks to destroy the truth of God’s Word while derailing its effectiveness through the insertion of false doctrine and you can see it in our many church denominations and religions of the world.
It is the devil’s delusion that we can be saved by our own works, justified by our own deeds, accepted by our own righteousness, pardoned by our own morality and win the favor of God by our own efforts. One of Satan’s great damaging lies is getting people to believe that maybe if they try to be good, try to be a good neighbor, try to volunteer and help others and try to do good things; then, they might be accepted by God and go to heaven.
Bottom Line / There will be no religious denominations in heaven only God’s body of believers worldwide called the “ecclesia.” The Greek word that is translated as “church” in the Bible is ecclesia which means “to call out” or “the called-out ones.” Simply put, the invisible church, the true church, is composed of those who are called by God not only outwardly but inwardly by the Holy Spirit. When Jesus calls someone to discipleship, He is calling that person to Himself, to belong to Him, to follow Him, and to learn from Him and of Him.
Unfortunately, many religious people on judgement day will say to Jesus Christ, “Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And Jesus will say to them depart from me, for I do not know you (Matt. 7:22-23).” Here we clearly see religious people who falsely profess to acknowledge Him as Savior but have never been converted – they are professors (professing to know Christ) but not possessors of Christ (indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit or born-again) and don’t have a relationship with Him. What a sad day it will be when billions upon billions of churchgoers throughout the centuries who thought they were saved through their own good works, deeds, sacraments, churches or religion find out that they have been deceived by Satan and will spend the rest of eternity separated from God and thrown into the Lake of Fire. What a sad day indeed; they were religious but lost, believing in their religion, works, ceremonies and tradition to save them. What a travesty indeed!
F/B – Signs of Our Times
Understanding The Signs Of the Times
Ascribed to by:
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Dr. Lian Muan Kim
Koinonia Baptist Seminary-Yangon, Myanmar