"In short religion alone is not the answer"
Religion means in Latin means to re-bind which could be taken one of two ways: either as some would believe being part of a "religion" re-binds or reunites one to God. Others believe that Religion "re-binds us to unnecessary ritual and ceremony which do not really get us closer to God.
It is interesting to know that the words 'religion', 'yoga', and 'yoke' share the origin.
So although Religion either way means to bind to something I think that the key is, what have we bound ourselves too?
God alone or a system of good deeds and holy days?
I guess the real question is what does Gods word say about it?
>Is religion in the Bible? Yes it is, in more than one way.
1st you have the religion of James 1:27 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.
The word religion in the Bible means "an outward action of worship" Which can be good!
But 2ndly we can have and outward display of worship that does not honor God at all.
But Christ warned Christians not be like the Pharisees (Mat 6:5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Being a Christian is not at all about looking good on the outside.
1 Sam 16:7 God looks on the heart
Mat_23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Mat_23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
While witnessing to a friend he said "I cant believe it Darren there are so many people in churches that are doing "stuff" and think that because they do all this religious stuff that they will go to heaven. Its so sad to think that they work so hard to get to heaven and its not even good enough. They are being lied too"!
Isa_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.
Being a Christian is however all about following Christ.
1) And we can be complete in Him
In Colossians we find Paul wrote a letter to a church telling them not to get caught up in pointless traditions
Col 2:8-10 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
We need to remember that we are complete in Christ and the law was only our teacher. Showing us that we are not perfect.
(Gal 3:24) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
So the law did have a purpose and that was to bring us to Christ.
The Law helps us realize that we can not keep it and we need Christ in order to go to Heaven.
(Gal 3:25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Notice here once we have faith in Christ we are no under the law anymore.
Because it says in. 2Co_5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2) Nailed to the Cross
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
All the things that we could try to do to gain salvation Christ removed and nailed them to the Cross.
Isa_1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
Tit_3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
You see no matter how good we are and how much good we do, it can not pay for the fact that we have all sinned. And we needed Christ perfect payment on the cross to pay for our sin.
Rom_3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
John 3:16 For God so loved...
The Bible does not say you need to believe and do this, this and this. NO its simply says believe!
Good works and good deeds are a by-product of believing in God.
After all the Bible encourages us to do good things.
Heb_10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Good deeds don't create salvation they come from salvation.
Remember all our sin, all our feeble efforts for righteousness are nailed to the cross. They are gone.
The requirement for getting to heaven is believing in Christ, and by believing in Christ acknowledging that it is His payment for our sin and only His payment for our sin that can save us from our sin and the penalties of it.
I would encourage you today that if there has not been a point in your life were you prayed to God and acknowledged His payment for our sin, do it today!
Please talk to me if you have any questions, I am here to help.