Shared March 8th, 2015
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, James 1:27.
Some dictionaries define religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” Others say it is “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.” Another says it is “Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.” And yet another says “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”
Webster’s New World Dictionary says that the word “religion” has its origin in the Latin religare where “re” means “back” and “ligare” means “to bind”. When we put these two words together, we get the understanding that religion means “to bind back.”
Now when we consider these various dictionaries’ definition of religion, does this include Christianity? Not from what the Bible says of itself as our opening verse says. True, many consider Christianity a religion but we have to admit that in reality it is completely, profoundly different than man-made religions. Notice, I said “man-made” religions.
First, religion (and I’m referring to man-made religion) is mankind’s yearning and search for God. However, mankind goes about it the wrong way, searching by inventing man-made ways, for example, good works, ‘religiously’ adhering to certain rules, rituals and regulations, for example, islam, etc.
In another sense if religion means to “to bind back,” then it means “back to bondage.” In this case, it is applicable to most, if not all, man-made religions. Many of the religions that we are aware or know of: e.g., islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, etc, for example, enslave their adherents or followers through the acute legalistic rules and regulations that they contain and require their followers to adhere to. As a result, followers are bereft of any personal freedoms. Only the Christian God says His name is Love. Isn’t that something! And He proved it by coming to die for mankind’s sins so that whoever accepts Him as Lord will not die and go to hell, but to heaven.
I’m ending this Part 1 of the exhortation, but just to be sure that you are a true, real Christian and not simply a person who is religious, please be sure to read the article, “Plan of Salvation,” by clicking on (or copying and pasting into your browser) the following link: https://www.restoredtorestore.org/landing/
Proposed prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, I am grateful that it is by grace that I am saved and that through faith and not of works. I thank You that my salvation is not based on, or from my activities. I thank You that this grace is Your gift. It is not by any deeds that I have done; so, I can’t boast. I am glad that You say and establish this truth in Ephesians 2:8-9, which is found in Your Word, the Holy Bible. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”