Blinded By Religion
By David J. Stewart
"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 5:20
The hardest part about getting people saved is getting them lost. Most people falsely think that their religion can save them. El papa over in Rome cannot save you. Your Catholic priest cannot absolve your sins. The Lutheran minister cannot forgive your sins. Karma doesn't exist in reality and won't wash your sins away. You need Christianity my friend. You need Christ if you don't have Him as your personal Savior.
Oh that men would seek the truth! The Word of God is abundantly clear concerning salvation; YET, religion has obscured It's divine Truths into mere tradition and ceremonialism. Jesus warned the people, that if their righteousness did not go beyond the self-righteousness of the Pharisees, that they wouldn't go to Heaven.
The truth is that self-righteousness never saved anybody! We read in Romans 10:3-4... "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Clearly, salvation is found only in HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
This is the dividing line between Biblical salvation verses men's traditions and self-righteousness. Religion teaches self-righteousness in one form or another; BUT, Biblical salvation is found only in HIS righteousness, i.e., Christ's righteousness.
Christ's righteousness is freely available to all mankind because of the precious blood which Jesus shed for our sins...
"But BY HIS OWN BLOOD he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." -Hebrews 9:12
1st John 1:7 states, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." It is Jesus' blood that saves us!--NOT one's church membership, tithing, good deeds, baptism, holy communion, or other forms of self-righteousness. Jesus ascended into Heaven after the crucifixion, with the LITERAL blood that He shed for our sins, and He applied that precious blood to the heavenly Mercy Seat. What a Savior!
Search the world over and you'll find every sort of religion imaginable, 99% of them based upon WORKS salvation. Someone has said that there are two types of religions in the world: DO and DONE, i.e., either you believe you must DO something to get to Heaven; or else you believe it is DONE, paid for by the blood of Jesus, and our only part is to trust upon the Savior. Someone asked me... "Isn't believing on Christ a "work."
Yes, but it is not a work of self-righteousness... John 6:29 states, "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." The only work which can get us to Heaven is believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus obtaining HIS righteousness... "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2nd Corinthians 5:21). The religious people of this world are trying to save themselves-- foolishly trusting their church, priest, or organization to save them.
Apart from faith alone in Jesus Christ, there is NO salvation (Acts 4:10-12). But didn't the Apostle James teach salvation by works? Not at all. Paul spoke of the ROOT of Abraham's faith (Romans 4:3-5); BUT, James spoke of the FRUIT of Abraham's faith (James 2:21).
When Name Calling is Good
I believe in calling false religions by name, so as to prevent any misunderstandings. Would to God every preacher in America would do the same. Catholicism is a prisonhouse of religion! Did you know that Catholics teach and believe the basic Gospel, i.e., Jesus died, was buried, and rose again? It's true.
Yet, Catholics ADD everything but the kitchen sink to their faith, as a requirement to go to Heaven. Catholics are required to keep the Seven Sacraments to go to Heaven, which includes being baptized only into the Catholic church. Catholics are so far out in left field doctrinally that they teach Mary was sinless, and assumed bodily into Heaven. In fact, Catholics are taught that Mary can give them eternal life. Blasphemy! Catholicism is religious nonsense in the worse degree.
If you want to go to Hell, then follow the Catholics, Lutherans, Seventh-Day Adventists, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, United Churches of Christ, Church of Christ, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Baha'i faith, or other false religions. If you want to go to Heaven, then believe on Jesus Christ alone.
It seems that everyone these days is jumping on the New Age bandwagon, buying into the damnable lie of Satan that there are multiple ways to Heaven, and that sincerity is all that matters. Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word. Proverb 16:25 warns, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." The road to Hell is always paved with good intentions.
There is ONLY one way to Heaven, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us make an effort to expose false religions BY NAME, because Satan is trying to brainwash everyone into believing that your religion doesn't matter, just so long as your sincere in your beliefs. Well, some of the sincerest people throughout history will burn in the flames of eternal torment in Hell (Matthew 7:13-14,21-23).
Satan is Subtle
Not only do we have to contend with false religion as believers, but also with hundreds of false doctrines which have crept into the modern church. One such damnable heresy is Lordship Salvation. LORDSHIP SALVATION is the false doctrine that a sinner MUST forsake their actually sins to be saved. No such requirement is taught in the Scriptures. Please read about The Hypocrisy of Lordship Salvation and The Foolish Doctrine of Lordship Salvation. We've seen Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron advertised extensively... on Yahoo, in videos, on national TV, interviews, debates, on the internet, etc, etc, etc... but they are teaching the lie of Lordship Salvation. This is no light matter. The Word of God DOES teach repentance unto salvation; BUT, the Biblical word for "repent" simply means "a change of mind"; NOT a change of lifestyle as a requirement to be saved.
Another damnable doctrine which has crept into the church, teaches that a lost sinner must be sorry for their sins in order to be saved. The Bible teaches that we must realize our GUILT to be saved, not necessarily feel remorse over our sins. Romans 3:19 states... "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." The word "guilty" in the Greek is "hupodikos" and means "under judgment, one who lost his suit; of liable to punishment from God" (SOURCE: Enhanced Strong's Lexicon).
Hence, a person must realize their GUILT to be saved, i.e., that the condemnation of God is upon them because of their own sins. This is vastly different from a FEELING of sorrow or remorse over one's sins. Do you see the big difference? To FEEL sorry for one's sins is an act of self-EMOTION; whereas, GUILT is a matter of self-AWARENESS. The Biblical teaching of salvation has been perverted in so many ways nowadays.
One popular Gospel tract requires sinners to: 1) Admit you are a sinner, 2) Be willing to turn from sin, et cetera. Now, point #2 is not Biblical. If I were to say to you, "I'll let you borrow my car if you're willing to fill the gas tank"--the implication is abundantly clear... fill my gas tank before you return my car. So if a Gospel tract directs sinners to... "Be willing to turn from sin" in order to be saved--the implication could easily be understood to mean that a sinner must forsake their sins to be saved, which is not true.
Can any believer truly forsake their sins? Is anyone perfect? Can any Christian live without committing a sin? No! (1st John 1:8,10). The desire to turn from sin is a result of salvation; NOT a requirement to be saved. It is wrong for us to require sinners to be willing to do anything to be saved. Such gospel tract authors are putting the cart before the horse, trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit. We don't need to alter the simple plan of salvation in an attempt to force people to live right. Our duty as Christians is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
The world has been blinded by religion, which is why 99% of the people in the world are headed straight for Hellfire! Matthew 7:13-15 plainly states that most people go to Hell, and FEW folks ever find the path to life. Matthew 7:14 reads, "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Notice the word "find." To find something, you need to search first. In other words, those who seek the truth will find it. Tragically, most people couldn't care less about finding the truth.
When God said that His people were destroyed for lack of knowledge in Hosea 4:6, the next Verse says they deliberately rejected God's knowledge. It was innocent ignorance; but rather, rebellious arrogance. The truth abounds in America today, but most people don't want it. The Bible foretold in 1st Timothy 4:1 of the apostate time when people would have itching ears, wanting some false prophet to scratch their ears by telling them only what they want to hear. Most churches today are reminiscent of spiritual morgues filled with dead people. The Spirit of the Lord is not present.
The false gospel of Lordship salvation is very similar to the damnable gospels of Mormonism, Roman Catholicism and Seventh Day Adventism. If you have been sucked into the heresy that you must leave your sinful behavior behind TO BE SAVED, then I plead with you to get saved according to the Bible. Surely, every person who names the name of Christ should depart from sin. 2nd Timothy 2:19, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” However, to be saved you need only admit your guilt of sin and believe upon the gospel. If you come as a hell-deserving sinner to the Lord, receiving His death, burial and resurrection as payment for your sins, then you are saved instantly, completely and eternally (John 20:31).
So many people today are following false prophets like R.B. Thieme and John MacArthur, who denies the efficacy (power) of the LITERAL blood of Jesus Christ. So many people are using the damnable New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, which perverts Biblical Christianity horribly. The NIV is of the Devil. Why are so many people foolishly believing a lie today? It's because they love not the truth, and have no desire to find the truth.
Most people are rebellious against God's truth in His Word. They are content in their manmade religion. Jesus practically gives us the address of the Roman Catholic Church in Mark 7:6-13. Satan blinds the MINDS of men (2nd Corinthians 4:4), but salvation is of the HEART (Romans 10:9). The only person that Satan can continue to blind is a person who refuses in their heart to seek the truth. If you have been seeking for the truth, I just shared it with you. There is no salvation in any name given among men other than the precious name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12). Believe on the Lord Jesus as the Christ and the work is done. If you die in your religion, then you are still in your sins and cannot go to Heaven.
"Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." -2nd Thessalonians 2:9,10