Evilness of Religion. Part 2

Many evil things have been done in the name of God carried out by professing believers who knowingly or unknowingly did the evil. The Crusades were supposedly carried out under the banner of Christianity, yet there was nothing godly about them. Satan still uses the crusade fiasco to discredit the Gospel. The Inquisition and the persecution carried out under the reign of Bloody Mary of England were done in the name of Christ, and yet these events and the people responsible for them were hideously evil. The Protestant-Catholic terrorism in Northern Ireland is not godly in any sense of the word, and yet the world perceives of it as Christian versus Christian...what a shame!

Yes religion including the "christian religion" is a force for evil when evil is recognized as bering false witness as to who God is and what He has accomplished in and through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The spies that came back for spying out the promise land, though they gave a true report, it was recorded as an evil report because it was a means of hinderance against God's plan for the exodus people.

Religious beliefs and practices that are against God's plan for the community of humanity are evil in the site of God.

From history recorded in the bible regarding the scribes, pharisees and chief priests, as well as Peter and Judas, we can determine that even the community of the redeemed can be deceived by the tactics of Satan.

Religious people today are not immune to the deceptions of the devil...in fact, most of the religious agenda is fostered by the deception of Satan and is accepted as truths of the gospel. Satan masquerading as angel of light has infiltrated the minds of people to believe deceptions lies as truth to the degree where the people have closed their minds off to the real truth of the gospel.

Religious knowledge, information, profession, or even the bible does not bring transformation that salvation is suppose to bring to the unbeliever and believer alike, only Jesus can do that.

The pharisees, scribes and chief priests claimed to know God and the scriptures recorded by ancient prophets, Judas professed to be a follower of Christ was taken by deception. Peter who was a true disciple of The Lord got caught in deception's trap. Paul the receiver of the Gospel of Grace from Jesus was a former pharisee of the pharisees, yet, he too was influenced by deception's deception.

The chief priests and scribes professed to know and fear the one true God. They professed to believe in the Scriptures. Judas professed to be a follower of Christ. Yet they killed the sinless Son of God. Anyone can make a profession of faith, but profession is not enough to guard us from evil religion.

The chief priests and scribes knew the Hebrew Scripture better than any of us know the Bible. They studied it for years in the original language. They could cite lengthy passages by memory. But in spite of their impressive learning, they missed Christ. Their knowledge filled them with pride, when it should have humbled them before God. Bible knowledge is good if it brings us to the true knowledge of God and of ourselves which will result in humility and total dependance in Christ. But if it puffs us up because of what we we know, we are opening ourselves to the devil's deception.

Religious position and ritual is not enough. These men were the religious leaders of their day. They had spiritual oversight over the people. But they crucified the Jesus. Judas was one of the twelve apostles, hand-picked by Jesus Christ. Yet he betrayed the Savior of the world for a small bag of silver. You can be a part of the hierarchy of religion holding lofty positions yet, be in league with the devil.

Religious doing is not enough. The chief priests and scribes had devoted their lives to religious duties. Judas had served Christ for three years in as close a capacity as possible. He had gone out with the other disciples, preaching and healing the sick in Jesus’ name. Paul in his doing before his Damascus road encounter with Jesus thought he was doing service for God by killing believers in Jesus, but all the religious service in the world is useless to establish and maintain a relationship with God.

Religious affiliation and experience is not enough. The chief priests and scribes were the cream of the hierarchy structure of religious leaders in Judaism. Judas was a member of the chosen twelve. He was personally acquainted with Peter, James, and John, not to mention, Jesus. He could tell you inside stories about these great men. You would think that some of it would have rubbed off on him. But you can know godly men and run in godly circles and yet not be godly. Judas witnessed the many miracles Christ performed. He had seen Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. He had watched Jesus feed the 5,000 and walk on the water. He had seen Jesus hold large crowds spellbound with His teaching. But all of his spiritual experiences did not keep him from betraying Jesus.

People today report all sorts of interesting and amazing spiritual experiences. They speak in tongues, laugh uncontrollably, bark like dogs, roar like lions, get slain in the Spirit, and lay prostrate on the floor. They go forward at evangelistic crusades, repeat the "sinners prayer" and feel a fuzzy feeling come over them. But ask Judas. He will tell you that you can have amazing religious experiences and still betray the Savior. Religious experiences are inadequate to determine spiritual genuineness.

If it is possible to profess to be a Christian and to do all of these other things, and yet to be in league with Satan, we need to guard against such evil religion in ourselves?

At the core of evil religion is deception that surfaces because of laking a genuine relationship with God that leads to a rejection of Jesus as Lord, and the promotion of selfish desires under the guise of religious commitment.

The evilness of religion is manifested today by: a rejection of Jesus Christ as Head of His Body by the religious hierarchy and by coming to Him to get what they can get from Him and when they do not get what they expect they open themselves to deception. Are such people in a genuine relationship with God?

We need to ask ourselves, “Am I following Christ for what I can get from Him?” That’s the way of religion. Or, have I submitted to Jesus as Lord, no matter what the cost? That is true relationship.

Evil religion feeds selfish desires under the guise of religious commitment...promotes the desire for wealth... fires up the desire for prestige positions and recognition to boost a self-righteous ego...feeds the desire for power and influence that may bring initial happiness and the feeling of contentment, but its end is spiritual ruin.

My prayer is that God's people will break free from evil religion, avoid it like the plague. Do not endorse it. Do not join with it. Make sure that your relationship is right before God.

Are you trusting in Christ alone for salvation or are you jumping through religious hoops to gain and maintain your salvation? Are you judging and condemning people because they do not agree with your religions tradition and interpretations of the Bible? Are you seeking to please God and walk before Him or are you out to pease the religious hierarchy? If you are, you are in danger of betraying the Son of God, not for a bag of silver, but, for a bag of useless religion.

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