Skip to comments.Are You Religious...or Are You Saved?
Posted on 12/10/2013 5:23:53 AM PST by CynicalBear
I once heard a radio preacher make the statement, You can be religious to your fingertips and still go to hell.
This is absolutely true.
Religion and salvation are two vastly different things. Religion is man trying to reach God by his own efforts, through rituals and ceremonies and keeping of the laws and rules of the religion he is practicing. It may include doing good works, it may include trying to turn others to your religion and it may include other such things that may be well and good as far as this life is concerned, but it wont get you to heaven.
Salvation on the other hand is simply recognizing what God has already done for you, that He through Jesus has already done everything necessary to secure your salvation, and all you have to do is accept it by inviting Jesus into your life, into your inner man. Once you do that you are saved for all of eternity, heaven will be your future home, and nobody and nothing on this earth can take it away from you.
The Greeks worshiped many gods. In Athens they had altars and statues to every god they could think of, and even an altar to the unknown god just in case they happened to miss one. The apostle Paul saw this when he visited Athens while making his rounds as a missionary and was greatly moved by what he saw. He preached Jesus to them, which seemed to them as some strange new god they had never heard of.
Standing in the Areopagus he told them, Men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the subjects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, To an Unknown God. What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. And he preached to them about Jesus, the unknown god, as the only Way of salvation.
One thing that all religions have in common is you have to do something to work or earn your way to God (or whatever god that religion worships), or do something to merit that gods attention. Even some who profess Christianity think we have to do something to earn our way to Heaven. I believe this is mainly based on misinterpretation of the Bible, trying to mix in Old Testament teachings with human reasoning. Whatever, it isnt true.
But what does the Scripture say? In order to properly understand Scripture we have to apply some commonsense rules to the reading of it that could apply to any reading.
1. Take the writings in the Bible at face value, as literally true, unless the context indicates otherwise.
2. Dont take Scripture out of context. Read what comes before and after the passage you're looking at to get a clear picture of what it is actually saying. Dont do proof texts, which are usually isolated verses taken out of context. Much false doctrine comes from taking Scripture out of context and mixing it with human reasoning. You can prove just about anything you want to by taking Scripture out of context but that doesn't make it so and it really doesnt prove anything.
3. Do cross-references. Look at other passages on the same subject or event, compare them and see what they say together. Compare Scripture with Scripture. This will give you a much clearer picture of what you are looking for.
4. Ask some questions about the passage you are reading: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Who is speaking? Who is he speaking to? What is he saying? What event or thing is he talking about? What is he doing, and why is he doing it? Where is this event, taking place? And why? What is the occasion? When is this happening, or being said? Finding the answers to these questions will help shed more light on what you are reading.
Weve already seen that all religions are based on some sort of works, earning your way to heaven. What do Isaiah and others in the Bible say about that?
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Romans 3:19-20, Paul: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be shut, and that all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God; for by the law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:10-12, Paul: For as many are of the works of the law are under a curse, for as it is written, Cursed is every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.' Now that no one is justified before God is evident, for the righteous man shall live by faith. However, the law is not of faith; on the contrary, 'He who practices them shall live by them.
In other words all the law does is tell us we are sinners, but it doesnt do anything to fix the situation.
The fact of the matter is that we are all sinners, and as such have no capacity to save ourselves. Keeping the laws given through Moses will not save us. All the law does is show us that we are sinners. And as sinners we are all under the condemnation of God, because God cannot allow sin in heaven and there is only one other place to go to when we diehell. Sin is a bit like an ounce of poison in a pot of stew. No amount of stirring or adding other ingredients will neutralize the poison. The poison has to be removed but you have nothing to remove it with.
Enter Jesus. There is only one way to remove the poison of sin from our lives, and that is for an innocent substitute to take the punishment for that sin upon Himself. In the Old Testament it was a lamb or a goat or other animal without spot or blemish, a type or shadow looking forward to Jesus execution on the cross. In our case, that innocent Substitute is none other than God Himself, in the person of Jesus the Christ, the anointed Son of God.
When Jesus was crucified God the Father laid every sin of every person on earth, past, present and future, on Jesus. When He died He took all our sins to the grave with Him, never to be held against us again. When He arose from the dead it was proof positive that God had accepted that payment for the sins that He had been charged withour sins. He had no sin of His own. For thirty-three years He lived on this earth, being born as a little baby just like the rest of us once were, growing to manhood, being tempted and tried in every manner that we all are, and yet totally without sin. Only then was He qualified to be the Substitute for our sins. And we are saved by His righteousness not our own. If we could save ourselves by our own self -righteousness, then Jesus died for no purpose.
Now what do we have to do to receive this righteousness?
John 1: 9-11: He [Jesus] was in the world, the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not. He came to His own and and His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become the sons of God, even to those who believe on His name.
John 3:16-18: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved. Whoever believes on Him is not condemned, but he who believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 14:6: Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.
Romans 10:9-10: That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
2 Corinthians 5:21: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are you saved through faith, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.
So you see, it all works by faith. Everything necessary for your salvation has already been done, all you have to do is receive it by receiving Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. How do you get him to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior? Just ask Him to, and believe He will. Its that simple. No rocket science needed, just sincere faith that He will do what you ask Him to do.
Religion: Do and do and doall your life and get nowhere, and maybe end-up in hell.
Salvation: Its already done, all taken care of by Jesus. Just receive Him by faith, like a child would ask his daddy to give him something he wants, believing hell get it for him. Its that simple.
Believe me, it works!
What of the mafia members who kept the Sabbath, gave to charities and believed in God while also knowingly and wantingly committing mortal sins (Murder, adultery, etc.)? Some of these men confessed they believed in Jesus, accepted him and yet knew they were destined for Hell.
I submit that judgement comes only from God. Any interpretation by man is a best guess.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum
Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?”
He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve. [John 6: 49-71]
No interpretation needed. Scripture is rather clear. We are told that a true faith would produce a changed life.
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
While it is true that only God knows the heart we are told what true faith looks like. I, for one, wouldnt choose to emulate those that show no change in their life. I suppose each person has to decide for themselves which is the more prudent path. Salvation, after all, is a personal thing.
Thank you for your contribution.
“Religion is man trying to reach God by his own efforts, through rituals and ceremonies and keeping of the laws and rules of the religion he is practicing.”
“mafia members” is a perfect example of claiming you’re saved doesn’t make it so. But then, claiming and sincerely believing and sincerely trying doesn’t mean you wont sin again either....but that’s what repenting is for. Claim it, live it, and as you fail, repent of it and try to get smarter about avoiding future failing. That’s the call.
God asks us to try, with all our informed heart, and be contrite where we fail. He’ll decide whether we’re worthy - the good and bad news is, it’s not up to our own judgement of “worthy”, as we aren’t, but the good news is He tells us He’s All Loving and All Merciful and we Trust in Him.
when you join the Cosa Nostra you commit to hell, they just go to confession for show
Faith by works. They can say they knew Jesus all they want. Their actions say different. Claiming to know Him and knowing Him are two vastly different things. While we are all sinners, to overtly and egregiously continue to sin in the face of God demonstrates a lack of faith.
Like most things, much easier SAID than DONE.
Of all the people I remember telling me they had accepted Jesus into their life... none have actually been 'true' to Jesus.
Those who tell others all they have to do is accept Jesus into their life (like Televangelists)... always turn out to be the biggest sinners.
False dichotomy, based on a wrong understanding of the term "religious." Of course those who are adherents of false relgions are not saved, since they don't believe in the one true God. But Christians, i.e., those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, are also--and should be--"religious," meaning that they are members of a church, are regular and active in the life of the congregation, attending services, receiving Word and Sacrament, etc.
Look at the life together of "those who were being saved" (Acts 2) in the very first church: "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). Those folks sound pretty "religious" to me.
And, while we cannot read hearts, there may be some people who are "religious" hypocrites, outwardly active in a Christian congregation but inwardly not trusting in Christ. But hopefully they are in the distinct minority--at least in the congregations I pastor. ;^)
As though anyone should take that whiny Charlie Hustle guy seriously...
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast
You left out the "and this not from yourselves" part of the verse. It's important. There can be arguments over it, but I see it saying that even faith is a gift from God.
But works helps our faith grow, doesn’t it? We all have something to give and in that giving we nurture what God has placed in us all. We become happy doing the right thing and we are ashamed and miserable when we do the wrong thing.
If I’m ashamed I don’t feel worthy of God or His grace—even if I know I can’t earn worth I won’t be trying to hide from God in shame. I know you can’t hide from God but we try when we are not living right. At least I do.
When I do what I know in my heart is the right thing, I find happiness and it helps my faith to grow and I feel closer to God. I don’t think I can change the grace of God, because grace is an unwarranted gift but it certainly helps me from trying to hide and hanging my head in shame.
That’s why government welfare is so insidious, it steals our faith and is a barrier in our faith. If we aren’t directly involved in helping one another it is all empty and we aren’t happy and we are ashamed with ourselves—that keeps us far from God and trying to run from Him. It makes us hopeless slaves to this world not a free people of God?
“Once saved, always saved”. Water baptismal not important, so long as you are “born again”. Praise the Lord and pass the coffee.
~ Brother Jimmy Swaggart
Yes, but since that gift is available to everyone, it's a given. It's a baseline from which everyone starts.
Nah...If you read the entire piece it's not too hard to see the distinction as related to the topic...Of course you can be religious and be saved...But being religious won't get you saved...And being a member in a religion that looks (or not) religious won't get you saved...
~ Brother Jimmy Swaggart and Jesus Christ thru the Apostle Paul...
Doesn't Jesus say that the demons also believe, and trermble?
Religion and salvation are two vastly different things.
Have to disagree just a bit on that harsh of a statement. There are two types of religion manrntioned in Scripture. One certainly meets the criteria for what you piece is trying to say. The other is salvific religion.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
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