Now before you stop reading after the heading because you may think this is written by some way out clergy, please hear me out. Most of the world thinks of Christianity as a religion, but what is the definition of “religion?” Webster states that a religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. A fundamental set of beliefs and practices.”
I would like to offer scripture that supports my statement. The Apostle Paul is who I would use as the authority for my support. Paul, you remember was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a member of the highest order in the Jewish Religion. He knew the Scriptures of the time, Old Testament writers like Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the “minor” prophets. He was well schooled in his day of the Laws of God. God had given the Jewish nation a religion of things to do and not to do to be obedient to God. Typically as man usually does, thinks he can improve on God, so he adds additional requirements to fulfill the law. For example, God said that the Sabbath was a day of rest, and that no work should be done. Man adds that you are working if your shoe has a nail sticking down as you walk on the Sabbath then you are plowing as you walk and that is work. I know that seems ridiculous to us, but that is an example of man’s thinking when he tries to play God and make rules to follow.
Then along comes Jesus, God’s very son, born of a virgin woman, sent to free God’s chosen people from their “religion.” Jesus calmly went about teaching a different life for His followers. He taught from the Sermon on the Mount for example, that the Blessed ones of God would recognize that they are poor in Spirit, and that they would morn over their condition. They would be gentle, merciful, peacemakers who would long for righteousness. They were to be Salt and Light to the world showing the way of God, being obedient to the laws of the land and of God, not because they would be punished if they didn’t, but because they had a desire in their innermost being to do so. Their ministry was to be one of reconciliation. They were to do everything within their power to make things right between themselves and others, because they understood that God has loved them and forgiven them through Christ and restored His relationship with them, and that they are to go and do likewise to others. God and man can be reconciled into a relationship like Adam had before sin entered into the world by their disobedience.
Paul in Romans goes into more detail to help us even today to understand this great Love of God. We call this Love the Gospel, for it is the Good News from God that in His Son, Jesus, who died on the cross of Calvary for the payment of sins, is available to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to us Gentiles. Paul confirms that this is true in that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and ascended into Heaven by the Power of God as a witness of this being a fact. Several thousand people saw Jesus after he had risen from the dead, and the disciples witnessed His ascension into Heaven. This proof is what we who have believed what is written, base our Faith upon. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, (eternal life with God), the assurance of things not seen. We have not yet seen what life will be like after we die, but by faith we know what God has promised. This is the Good News of the Gospel. Paul goes on in Romans to explain what life for those who have entered into this “relationship” will experience. You too can have a new understanding of the Easter message of the Gospel of Christ, if you will choose to enter into a relationship with God. It’s simple. God doesn’t make it hard for us, and sometimes I think that is a problem for many people. We think we need to do something for God for Him to reward us with eternal life, and a joy filled life for the remaining years we have here, but that is not true. He simply says believe. Believe that I sent my Son, Jesus to be a full payment for your sins, and accept Him as your Savior, meaning you are not trusting in your self but in His Atoning Work on the Cross for you. Do it today! A simple prayer asking God to forgive you for the sins in your life, and commit to follow Him for your future is all that is required. He will do the rest. “Behold I stand at the door and knock, all who open the door will experience a relationship with Me.”