The Stumbling Block called "Religion"

Pastor John says, "Hope is like sunshine, everyone needs a ray of it."

Aug 23, 2018

3 min read

The Stumbling Block called "Religion"

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of dead, both of the just and the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” Acts 24:14-16 (NKJV).

Paul was speaking of the Way in which we should all live in accordance with the commandments of God and in belief of Jesus Christ as our Savior.  There is truth given to men by God and we are to respond to this truth with faith and let our behavior be of righteousness in order to attain salvation upon our deaths so that we can be among the just in resurrection. The Israelites were not as clear about resurrection and heaven and hell. The afterlife was not spoken of in definitive terms but it was clear that God chose the Hebrew people to reveal His commandments and they received the oracles and Laws. Jesus made it clear that He was the way to righteousness and to heaven. Unfortunately, religion has become a stumbling block for godliness.

The Israelites were given instructions on righteous behavior and how to live their lives daily and even they stumbled over the ‘rules’ of it all. That became the basis for so much instruction in the New Testament which has led to the 'Christians' doing the same thing. You cannot separate your life from your faith.  Yo cannot have religious observances and sinful living simultaneously.  That is the problem that people have always had. They compartmentalize their faith and their lives.  The Way is to become your  way of life, your standard of living and your faith is to guide you in all that you do. Religion is a stumbling block because the doctrines of men have taken over just  as the oral tradition of men took over in Judea so long ago and yet it is these traditions that are still in control of the 'faith' of people.

When you allow the routine of your religion to become the religion itself and you rely on going through the motions and requirements of that religion then you have been blinded and have fallen into the ditch. Faith is meant to guide you, to strengthen you and to give you the knowledge and confidence in God that allows you to live your life according to His standards. Your faith is not meant to become a routine of bullet points that you tick off in order to complete the list of obligations so that you can meet the minimum requirements that will allow you to reap the rewards without interrupting your life and your pursuit of happiness in any extreme way.

Your faith in Jesus is meant to give you hope and the courage to live your life as His servant. As His disciple you are meant to follow His example always not when it is convenient. Those who follow Christ will experience unpleasantness and will stand out in this life because as the world hated Him it will indeed hate you. Let the love of the Lord seep into you and flow through you and you will live a life that shines for Jesus and you will reap the rewards that are promised by God. Do not allow your ‘religion’ to be routine, compartmentalized or stagnant. Trust that the way you live your life will determine whether your resurrection is of the just or the unjust and both will be judged.

“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:5-6 (NKJV).


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