Monday, February 14, 2011

Religion or Relationship

The popular consensus is that all religions are equal. Each individual is entitled to seek God in his own way. All ways lead to God even when each religion gives Him a different name. It then is seen as prejudice to state that one way is better than another, and that religions other than one’s own will lead to eternal damnation. The truth of the matter is that all religions are not the same.
Consider this fact: the gods named in the various religions are not the same, so how then can the religions be the same? For example some religions maintain there is a personal god, i.e., a god who is a person and has a personality (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) as opposed to a god who is a Force who is present in all of nature (Eastern Mysticism, New Age beliefs). Hinduism has many gods and Humanism purports that Man is his own god. So if all these gods are different, how can the ways to approach them be the same? In some religions man is always trying to appease his god while in other religions man is trying to bring out his godhead from within himself.
If religion is “the recognition of and belief in a superhuman power or powers to whom obedience, reverence, and worship are due (Thorndike and Barnhart Dictionary)” and religious duties are those things an individual does to gain acceptance with this power or powers, how one gains this acceptance is affected by how he or she perceives God to be. In other words, all religions are not the same. Some  religions teach the goodness of all men. Some religions teach strict rules and rituals. Some treligions teach definite principles of right and wrong and still some teach that all is relative with no set principles of right and wrong at all.
True Christianity is different in that it does not follow the definition of religion set above. Where religion is Man’s efforts to reach out to God, Whoever or Whatever that may be, biblical Christianity describes God’s efforts to reach out to Man. Biblical Christianity is a love story. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish have
everlasting life.” God created Man to have fellowship with Himself. But Man has gone his own way resulting in separation from God. The Bible is God’s love letter to us explaining how God is seeking to reconcile with us.
God doesn't desier religion. He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t require a complicated system of obedience, reverence and worship, He seeks to restore a relationship and obedience, reverence and worship will follow. God never pretends that Man can earn His way back into this relationship. True love is not earned. It is just received. The simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” This has resulted in separation from God. “But God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” This is the reconciliation. Christ died for our sins. He took our place on the Cross of punishment.
This was God’s plan all along. He revealed it long before Christ was born. It is written in Jewish Scripture. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).” In short, God loved us so much that
He sent Jesus to die for our sins. He doesn’t expect us to do anything, but receive.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12).” The question that comes to each of us is this, "In light of God’s love will you
choose to love God?"

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