God hates religion.
Why? Imagine with me for a minute, Jesus, standing in the temple with the religious leaders. They were testing and mocking him. The courtyard of the temple was filled with merchants and moneychangers. It looked like a crowded flea market, not a sacred place of worship. (John 2:13-22)
God’s sanctuary was being abused, and the high priests were okay with it. They were also perfectly fine with corrupting God’s commands with their rules. The high priests used God as an excuse to teach whatever they wanted. Jesus was vehemently opposed.
God hates religion because it keeps his people away from Him.
People were being deceived into believing that if they just follow the rules and practice the rituals they would be safe and still go to heaven.
All the while, these high priests were creating the illusion that they had all the answers and their lives were perfect. The corrupted thinking made them believe their relationship with God was perfect because they followed the rules.
Jesus saw right through that in a hot second. These leaders of the church could not be trusted with God’s Word because they didn’t have a real and intimate relationship with God.
Not only that, they did not follow the rules they taught, which made them hypocrites. Their hearts were hard and bitter. Their rituals and rules became an idol and a substitute for an intimate relationship.
God hates religion because it becomes a replacement for a relationship with Him.
So, how do you have a relationship with all these rules? It seems kind of hard doesn’t it?
It is extremely hard.
While I understand that some may have had a different experience, I grew up in a religious community thinking that it was just all rules and rituals. It appeared to be a requirement to follow the rules to earn salvation. I felt like a hypocrite because I preached the rules and did not follow them. Maybe others in different congregations do understand the grace of Jesus Christ, but I certainly didn’t.
I was looking for something more. I did not get my light bulb moment until I left the “religion” behind. I had an encounter with Jesus that changed my life and eternal destination forever. I saw how wicked my heart was and my need for him. My childhood religion kept me from seeing the grace I needed because I was trying to earn my salvation with the rules.
Jesus didn’t come to give us rules to follow. He came to have a relationship with us. Jesus is the only love that changes you. He certainly changed me! He gives us the kind of love that upsets the status quo. He puts us on the path to a better destination. Nothing can substitute that. Jesus was angry because the people who were representing God did not believe Him. They were so blind by their pride; they did not see that Jesus is God. Therefore they challenged Him to the point of driving people away from Him. They were thwarting the opportunity of eternal life, true love, salvation, and a relationship with the one true God. (John 2:13-22)
God hates religion because it keeps needy and hurting people away from Jesus Christ.
How do you make sure you are not just following the rules? What do you do to maintain your intimate relationship with Christ?
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