Thoughts of a Country Preacher

The Monday morning ruminations of a pastor.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Religiosity vs. Christianity

For the past several weeks I have, as a side note, preached about the greatest religious rival to Christianity. Despite its growth in the West, it is not Islam. Nor is Christianity’s greatest rival Mormonism or New Age thought. No, Christianity’s greatest rival today has been its greatest rival throughout all of time. It is Religiosity. For a moment today, I would like to share with you a few snippets from a couple of my past sermons that deals with the difference between Religiosity and Christianity.

If we look in the New Testament, we will find Jesus, being confronted with the Pharisees, and the Pharisees were a perfect example of people ensnared by the lie of Religiosity. Whenever they would fast, they would go around and wail and moan because they were so hungry, but they couldn’t eat because that’s how holy they were.
And Jesus looks at these guys and he says:

Matthew 6:16-18 16 "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18 so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

So here Jesus says that outward expression with no inward meaning is pointless and empty and vain.

That’s not holiness, that is religiosity.

And so today, when we ask ourselves, what makes us acceptable to God, what do we say?
Do we say that going to church on Sunday mornings and maybe Sunday School, and dropping a 10 in the offering plate and praying over meals, and as long as I do those things then I’ll be alright with God.

That is not Christianity, that is Religiosity.

Christianity says that we are made right with God through the blood of Christ.

Religiosity says that we are made right with God by doing religious things.

Christianity says we are saved through faith in Christ.

Religiosity says that we are saved through participation.

Additionally, Religiosity tells us that if we want God’s blessings in our lives, then we have to be good, and we have to be moral. And if we do everything right then we will get what we want from God.

And the reason why Religiosity is so dangerous is that it leaves out any mention of God’s grace in our lives.

But Christianity calls us to more than morality. Christianity calls us to holiness, and that is something that we cannot produce in our hearts on our own.

Christianity remembers:
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick

Christianity tells us that God’s blessings upon us are not dependent on what we do for God.

Christianity clings to the promise of:
Romans 5:8 while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

That while we were still in a state of rebellion against God, while we lived as our own gods, while we were not just unwilling, but even unable to please God, God sent His son to die for us so that we might live for Him.

Christianity knows that there is a break between our actions and the blessings of God, and that break is the grace of God.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Pastor very very true I could not agree less with you. my favorite point is, "we are called to holiness and we cannot achieve it through our own efforts. once again thank you and God bless you and your ministry.

12:44 AM  

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