Sunday, January 15, 2017

True Religion

One day I went to a mall to receive computer training at the Apple Store. While walking around on a break, I noticed another store called True Religion Brand Jeans. I suspected this store didn’t honor the true living God. That was confirmed when I went inside and saw a guitar–toting Buddha on the wall. Out of curiosity, I asked an employee about the origin of the store’s name. She told me the founder stated, “This is only one true religion. Everyone must wear jeans.”

The New Oxford American Dictionary lists the following definitions of the word religion

• the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods
• a particular system of faith and worship
• a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

In addition to Christianity, the secular press often categorizes Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism among “the world's great religions.” In recent years, new religions have emerged ranging from Eckankar to the Church of Elvis. One religious group founded in the 19th century that attempts to unify all faiths are the Baha’is. Every third Sunday in January (including today) they promote World Religion Day as an “interfaith celebration of the oneness of religion and its role in human society.”

When I’m out ministering the gospel, some people tell me they’re not religious. I usually reply, “Neither am I. Did you know God hates religion?” Then I point out Christianity isn’t really a religion but a relationship. 

Nevertheless, the words religion and religious are in the Bible. When first noticing the True Religion sign, I immediately thought of James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” A person can do all kinds of good deeds but as the previous verse points out, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

Every religion may teach some truths. Nobody in their right mind would willingly base their life on a bunch of lies. But no matter how religious a person tries to be, Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There’s only one way a person can keep himself “unspotted.” That’s through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” - Colossians 2:23

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