“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). Unfortunately in today’s society religion has come to mean church and church doctrine. In recent times there has been an exodus away from God because church and religion have supplanted God and worship. Faith has become synonymous with religion. Consequently the religion becomes the faith and the worshipped. God at best has become a subpart of that religion, a mere element or component of that particular faith.
Religion is a standards and practice of a particular faith. Each religion has its own set of standards it expects the adherents to follow. Ceremonies and rituals become the focal point and not God. It fosters a works and deeds mentality that is detrimental to true spiritual growth, knowledge of God and salvation. These standards and practices and ceremonies are creations of man and not God.
If there is any element of man in precepts, doctrine or foundation of a Church and/or religion then there will be a problem. God is perfect, man is not. God leads, man follows. If man attempts to lead, he being imperfect will deviate from God’s way. It is the assured inevitability of both man and his religion.
Although usually first established on the belief and commandments of God, religion continues on in precepts and rituals of man’s creation. Adding or subtracting as man and his religion may see fit, it quickly deviates from the word of God. One of man’s most favorite destinations is convenience. And when convenience contradicts precept, man (and his religion) has the power and ability to change his church and religion to suit his desires.
Jeroboam made it more convenient for the people to worship God. He said, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem”. So, he made two golden calves, “And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi” (1 Kings 10:29-31).
Jeroboam made it more convenient for the people to worship. In so doing he created a religion with its own precepts, principles and method of worship. God was supplanted for ease and comfort of the people.
Man’s religion is for those unable or unwilling to face the simple truth of God and His word. Man finds God harsh, offensive and often impractical for a modern day world not realizing that that is exactly what He is suppose to be. God’s word, precepts and principles are to keep us in the way, the path of righteousness and life. Any deviation or exception to the word of God is sin and death.
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights. The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” (Psalms 119:133-144)
Man’s religion will always be in a constant state of flux. But the word of God is perfect, true, immutable and they are life.
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