Are you sure? Sure, I'm sure!
Previous articleBack to Table of ContentsNext article


Topic: Harmony and Diversity

Religious People

by Darrel Cline

There are two kinds of religious people in the world. There are those whose belief system begins with the assumption that God is God and His creation exists for His pleasure, direction, and objectives. Then there are those whose religious commitments begin with the assumption (whether actually stated or not) that they are the center of the universe and God exists for their pleasure, direction, and purposes.

According to Jesus, the latter group is vastly greater than the former: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14; KJV).

And, according to Jesus, the latter group almost never recognizes itself because it subscribes to the words of the first group (God is to be the Object of my love, ambition, and service) but operates on the hidden assumption of the latter (when push comes to shove, if I don't get my way, I'm gonna walk).

Jesus addressed this latter group in Luke 6:46: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (KJV). Here He drew the line in the sand for all to see: those who are religious for their own gain are those who disobey Jesus' instruction--even to the point of refusing to study His Word on a regular basis to find out what He really did say; and those who are religious for the pursuit of the pleasure of God are those who do what He said to do--which begins with the regular consideration of His Word so they can know what that is.

As a pastor in a pluralistic, religious society, I am constantly amazed at the numbers of people who claim religious conviction, but get hostile as soon as they are asked for a defense of their activity from the Scriptures. Hostility in the face of a request for a biblical foundation is clear evidence that the person who is hostile is playing religious games for personal reasons that are best kept hidden. Anyone who is honestly seeking to serve God will welcome the opportunity to explain to those who ask what the biblical justification for their action is.

Thus, Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (KJV). Here He made the clear, unequivocal statement that it is not the words (calling Jesus Lord) that reveals the true believer; it is rather the faith beneath the actions that reveals the true believer. We know this is His meaning from a comparison of Matthew 21:28-32 to this Matthew 7 passage. There He directly addresses the issue at the faith level as it issues forth into the performance level.

So, let me conclude with this question: why are you religious (if, in fact, you are)? Have you believed in the Gospel so as to have an honest love for God's program and agenda, or are you simply trying to impress God and men to escape the future judgment? Remember, it's awfully hard to impress the God who sees motive as well as action.

(return to the top of the article)

Previous articleBack to Table of ContentsNext article
This is article #091.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.