What is the difference between Religion
and having a relationship with God?
Religioncan be blind and dead. The Anti-Christ will seem to be a religious person. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there first come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Itis easier for religious people to revolt and rebel against God because they are not sealed by his spirit. We are baptized into the family of God by his spirit. Thus He (Spirit) directs us towards God. This is the personal relationship that becomes established. It is a wonderful thing to know God. It is even more wonderful when God knows us. He can only recognize his own if the Holy Spirit resides in us.
Isaiah65:5 "who say, Keep away; don't come near me, for I am too scared for you! Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day."
Religionis a practice of rituals and ceremonials which can easily stifle the move of the spirit. Religion does not normally invite the Spirit of God but rather religion seeks its own. Mark 7:3 "For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the traditions of the elders." Religion practices the doctrine and commandments of men, laying aside the commandments of God. In rejecting God's commandments they make the Word of God of none effect.
Matthew23:23 "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
Religionis formalism. Galatians 4:10_11 ye observe days, and months and times and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain."
Religionwants to be seen by others. Matthew 6:5 "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they might be seen of men. (Titus 1:16, 1 John 6:46) (Ecc 5:1)
Religionis formalism, people ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:5 "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." The reason that they deny the power of God is because they have not tasted it. Only through the Spirit of God can one partake of the power of God. Never having experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit these are people who feel that through works alone they can achieve a eternal reward. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)
Romans14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy, in the Holy Ghost."
TheApostle Paul before his conversion to Christ was a very religious man. He was also a persecutor of Christianity and was determined to abolish and destroy it completely. Galatians 1:13-14 "For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers."
Psalms78:36 "But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues."
Proverbs26:23 "Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart (Isaiah 48:1)"
Arelationship with God is only possible because of what Jesus done by his life, death and resurrection. John 1:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fathers' house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also." If we read on we will see that more promises are given to his followers. John 1:15-21. "If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
I'd like to stop for a moment to explain.
The Comforter is the Holy Spirit which Jesus send s back as our counselor and help here on earth. This is the first step in establishing a relationship between God and man. Never before had God came so close to man. This was accomplished when Jesus being God in the flesh bridged the gap by using his own body as a sacrifice to take away the sins of the world. The sin had to be removed in order for God to reveal himself to man. We live in a special and unique time. This dispensation is when God himself is able to have fellowship with the human race. The Spirit is our Paraclete or helper on earth while Christ who is at the right hand of God the Father is our helper in heaven.
Inverse 18 Jesus says "Because I live you shall live also." We owe our lives to him.
Verse20 explains the intimate relationship that mankind can have with God because of Jesus. "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
Verse21 speaks of Christ himself revealing himself to us.
Apersonal relationship with God is possible by the Spirit of God which Jesus sent in his own absence. Jesus who cannot be here with us in physical form like when he walked the earth, makes himself known to us by the spirit of truth.
Ifwe love God we will keep his commandments. We will fear God. To love God is to love him with all of our heart, soul and mind. God gave us the very best in his Son to restore our relationship with him.
Psalm51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart."
In Christ Jesus,