Religion is a broad topic to define and embraces many aspects of human experiences. My aim is not to start a comprehensive study of the subject but understand the basis of the subject.
Religion is used to caption a general set of beliefs that influence humanity. Religion is, therefore, humans’ effort to relate to or appease an invisible, all-powerful, all-knowing, and Supreme Being. It is the effort of fleshly being to please the Creator, but
“So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Religion’s effort is based on fulfilling the requirements of a set of laws. Religion is viewed by all those who practice it as a panacea to overcome the issue of sin, and every religion acknowledges that sin is primarily the reason for severing the relationship with the Creator.
Ironically every religion aims to overcome this problem with efforts and works which seem supernaturally convincing to them; some deny themselves the good, natural things created by God, some created all manner of objects to represent various deities, some fast continuously, some injure themselves, some even kill themselves and others under the name of religion.
However, the Bible says
“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (5) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. “(Romans 8:3-7).
“For Christ, is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes “.
No religious effort can ever make man right with God, the more man attempts to obey the law in the flesh, the more he realizes how sinful is he. The law makes a man know sin, the law gives life to sin and sin is strengthened by the law.
If we take religion to be set of law of righteousness and we replace the word “law” with “religion”, then Romans 10:4 will read as follows:
“For Christ is the end of religion for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
When you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, your salvation is secured with the precious blood of Jesus and you become free from sins and its consequences – eternal death. No more condemnation.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
However, it is impossible for man’s efforts and works to earn him salvation with God, the only way to God is through Him who came from heaven to earth, showed the way to God, died for the sins of the whole world on the cross, (He offered Himself to God without committing any sin), raised the third day by God and ascended to Heaven. This is Jesus Christ who rightfully claimed
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”.
A claim that nobody has ever made except Jesus Christ.
God spoke in several places in the scripture that He is very well pleased with Jesus as the only means of salvation from sin and death. Salvation is thereby available to anyone who places his/her faith in Jesus Christ,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God also confirmed His approval of Jesus while Jesus was been baptized
“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
If God is well pleased in Jesus as the only way to Him and man’s efforts and works have never been acknowledged by God to be sufficient for redemption, then we would be justified by faith in the word of God to draw two meaningful conclusions:
- The self-effort of man to please and relate to God through religion is flawed and fruitless.
- If Jesus is the way to God then a relationship with Jesus is not a religion, it is a faith-based relationship.
Historically, it is important to note that Jesus’ followers during His first time here on earth and shortly after His departure were called believers, they were first called Christians in Antioch by the unbelievers (Acts 11:26).
God the father or God the Son (Jesus) never on any occasion emphasized any form of religion, the emphasis has always been “Whoever believes in Jesus” (John 3:15-16, John 11:26, John 12: 46).
Therefore believing, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and placing our faith in Jesus is not a religious act but the true way to make ourselves right with God.
The Truth is Jesus came to this world to save us, and we must accept Him as our Saviour for us to live eternally with Him. Rejecting this gift from our maker is to end up in Hell forever.