Dangerous Religion

(Leviticus 10:1) And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either altar photoof them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

The mere appearance of our offerings and righteous acts make no difference with God. Nadab and Abihu had the form of performing a good thing before the Lord yet it was an act of disobedience. They offered strange fire because it was their own will to offer it not the will and commandment of God.

Just because something looks holy doesn’t mean it is holy. Even Cain offered a sacrifice unto the Lord yet in his heart it was nothing more than good works from his own hands. Solemn music, white robes, reverent faces and even a large Bible do not create holiness before God.

Our offerings before God become holy when they are offered in the method prescribed by God in His Word and out of a heart that is already made righteous by the righteousness of Christ. We cannot obtain righteousness through our own offerings or else we are just committing the same sin as Cain in lifting up our own good works. We cannot demonstrate holiness by our own invented external acts of ceremonial procession or else we are just committing the same sin as Nadab and Abihu. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we are the living sacrifice laid down as a result of a mind that is renewed by the Word of God and a life transformed by His indwelling presence. This is what makes our offering acceptable. We cannot obtain grace nor can we maintain grace through our own works. There are many people eternally separated from God who lived a very religious life.

(Romans 11:6) And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Renewed Thought: Don’t be fooled into thinking that religious and ceremonial acts make us holy. Any offering that God accepts from us must be a result of His holiness already working in us and through us.

 

Children of Wacko Religious Parents

You probably know one or two people that you would say hold “weird” or “crazy” beliefs. But what happens to children raised in a messed up Christian home or a wacko religious environment? They often turn to atheism. Billed as “the largest gathering of the secular movement in world history,” the Reason Rally featured speaker Nate Phelps. His name as an out-spoken atheist isn’t as well known as someone like Dawkins. But his father is certainly known by many. You see, Nate Phelps is the son of Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps. Westboro Baptist Church is the group responsible for anti-gay and anti-military protests. You’ve probably seen them holding signs that say “Pray For More Dead Soldiers” or “God Hates Fags.”

Nate Phelps recently did an interview with the L.A. Times about his upbringing and how he came to his beliefs today. I recommend every parent read this article. It gives a really good idea about the formation of thoughts in the mind of a son or daughter.

Q&A: Notorious pastors atheist son speaks out at Reason Rally.

[box]This is what happens when parents plant diseased doctrine in the life of a child. [/box]

I’m not saying that every child of Christian parents who chooses atheism was victimized by sick beliefs (I’m not saying the Westboro Baptist Church people are even Christians). I’m just pointing out that if you put wacked out ideas into a child’s head, it shouldn’t be any surprise how he or she turns out. If you put wacked out religious ideas into a child’s head, it shouldn’t be any surprise what he or she comes to believe about God. 

The Lost Religious Crowd

(John 3:1-2)  “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

The Pharisees were the religious ruling class during the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. They displayed all the outward signs everyone expected of their religious leaders. They had all the right clothes, knew all the right jargon and even knew how to pray in public. But they were spiritually dead. They walked in darkness. In this darkness and in the literal darkness, Nicodemus approached Jesus.

The Pharisees knew all about the miracles Jesus performed. They even acknowledged he was a “teacher come from God.” But we also learn that it is possible to be religious and still not know the Lord Jesus Christ for Who He really is. In spite of all their learning and understanding of the Scriptures, the Pharisees were still lost. They knew the prophecies about the coming Messiah but when He finally arrived they could only see Him as a “teacher.” Yes, they were people who had faith but only in their religion. Eventually, both the religious and the secular put Jesus to death.

What a great tragedy for someone to live religiously all their life only to die in their sin. Some get very close to the Lord but never see Him through the eyes of faith. The Pharisees were the most religious of all but they were also the hardest to reach. How many sit in a pew every Sunday listening to the Bible but never believing it? It is easy to justify Jesus as a great, moral teacher. It is easy to approach Him in the night and acknowledge His supernatural gifts. But we learn from the Pharisees the narrow road to salvation is the hardest road because it demands a faith that lays aside our trust in self and belief that religion can save.

Renewed Thought – Religion is man’s attempt to avoid the justice of God.