The Deception of Religion

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying; “The scribes and pharisees sit in Moses seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not so. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the place of honor at the feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greeting in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But you, do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for one is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. and whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you. scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. Woe to you, blind guides, who say, Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar swears by it and all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving out the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside may be clean also. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall not see me no more till you say, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” [Matthew 23:1-39]

In His discourse on the deception of the religious establishment in the above chapter; Jesus outlined for us a long list of grievances God had against the religious people of His time. The same religious spirits that were deceiving God’s people of that time, are sill running amok among our present day religious establishment. Jesus did not say everything the religious leaders were doing was wrong. They were doing some things right, and Jesus said His followers should continue to do those things to honor God, but the most important things of God (the weightier matters of the law) they were not doing. As a result of their failure to fully follow God’s teachings, they were killing and had killed and persecuted those who were. The weightier matters of God’s Word to His people of which Jesus was speaking are what separates a disciple of Jesus Christ from all other heathen religions. Notice where Jesus said these religious leaders sit. The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses seat. These religious leaders covet the chief seats of the governing boards of all that is classified as Christianity and other religions. The name these religions have given themselves and their meeting places should not deceive us. Just because their places of worship have religious sounding names or are named after famous Christians; if they are not living according to God’s dictates, they are not serving God. Satan mimics everything God does because he wants to be like god, so he has instituted many religions whose teachings are works based. Satan reminds me of a candy store. Candy comes in many flavors, but they are still filled with sugar that is harmful to our health. And at the present time, he is working on bringing all of these different flavored religions under one umbrella called the One World Church whose sole objective is to persecute the true church of God in these latter days. Their works are physical outward expressions of themselves and done to be seen and honored by men. Whereas, the weightier matters Jesus was speaking of in the above scriptures come out of the goodness of the Christian’s heart and are done to glorify our Creator. God has only one true church and all of its teachings are based upon the saving grace of God the Father.  As Jesus pointed out in His discourse on religious actions; religion excludes the weightier matters of God’s Word. Jesus said, “For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law; justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving out the others undone.”

It is the justice, mercy and faith the disciples of Christ show for their fellow-man that sets us apart from every other religion. God is a God of grace and mercy; He is also a God of justice. And as He is, so are we to be in this world. Religion teaches men they must prove to God they are good enough to gain heaven, but Christianity teaches; “A person is saved by the grace of God, who, because they have been saved by grace, show mercy to their fellow-man, and we trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding because there are many things about God we do not yet understand.” But this we do know; man cannot make himself good enough to inherit salvation. The Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans, “The righteousness of man is as filthy rags.” And, “There is none righteous, not one.” What Paul was saying is that no matter what we try to do to prove to God we are a good person; we are still lost in our sin and will spend eternity in hell for our assumption. God tells us to seek Him with all of our heart, then He will be found, and He will make us or grant us His righteousness, and when we take on His Righteousness, that makes us good enough to inherit eternal life. 

Man cannot interact with the Father except through His Son, Jesus Christ. It is He who died because of our sin so that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. It is the right standing Christ Jesus has with His Father that makes us good enough for heaven. No religion can assure us, and no good deed can earn us, a spot in heaven. Men receive eternal life by the grace of God when we believe in His Son and the work the Son did in our behalf. If we never accept the Son as our Savior, we do not have the Father either. Jesus said it this way in [John 15:22-23] “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also.” You may be thinking, “I don’t hate Jesus.” Jesus said you do. And He said, “He who is not with Me, is against Me.” [Matthew 12:30] He spoke plainly in this scripture. If you are not serving Him, you are rebelling against him. You cannot remain neutral in this eternal war with evil. A person is either for Christ, or they are for Satan. Those who are for Christ will inherit eternal life. Those who are against Him are rebels, and every person who rebels against God’s rule will be separated from Him and His children and imprisoned in a place God describes as a place of eternal torment, or as it is better known; hell. DThrash

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