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TITLE: CHRISTIANITY VERSUS "RELIGION"
Subtitle: If You Think They Are The Same, You Are Mistaken!
The media continues to devote much discussion and ink to the religion of Islam, primarily due to the hostilitites in Iraq and the on-going threat of terrorism by other Islamic states. And to maintain the status quo, President Bush is walking the politically correct tightrope by insisting all religions are equally valid. His public utterances would lead us to believe we all worship the same God and just refer to Him by different names. But in case you are not aware of it, this heretical view known as the "universal fatherhood of god and brotherhood of man" is as old as mankind and the backbone of Illuminated Freemasonry. Their ultimate goal is to amalgamate all religions into a single highly tolerant system of belief in which sectarian strife will be eliminated--a program the United Nations heartily endorses. Over the last 50 years or so the ecumenical movement spearheaded by the Roman Catholic Papacy has made great strides toward this goal by reaching out to Protestant Churches with the aim of bringing them back into "the mother church." The World Council of Churches along with the US National Council of Churches are actively promoting this movement and now have many denominational churches on their ever-expanding list of members. And by using these subtle tactics the highly exclusive nature of Bible Christianity is slowly being turned into a religion in the eyes of the earth's masses!
Yes, I know almost everyone who considers themselves to be "religious" insists their way to eternal life is the correct way and all others are wrong. I also understand that in the overwhelming majority of cases, those who hold to a particular system of belief do so because it is all they have ever known. Parents quite naturally pass on to their children that which they believe and statistically speaking, it is seldom rejected in favor of something else. But if we truly seek to walk the correct path with such a bewildering array of conflicting religious doctrines confronting us, how can we possibly sift through all of them with any real hope of discovering the "right"one? This seemingly impossible task is greatly reduced when we realize there are only two basic choices. (1) You can either attempt to please a particular concept of deity by adhering to a prescribed code of conduct and thereby gain entrance into a supposed state of eternal bliss, or (2) totally rely upon deity for salvation. Period! And a close examination of the world's "religions" (using the broadly accepted definition of the term) will reveal that all but one of them fall in the first category. To varying degrees each teach a system of personal accomplishment--attaining their particular version of eternal reward through self-discipline, knowledge, and good works. Praying five times a day, attending mass and confession, keeping the Law of Moses, trying to maintain good Karma, being baptized, depending upon the precepts of Freemasonry and a thousand and one other things are held to be necessary if one is to be rewarded. Failure to closely adhere to these precepts will result in dire consequences and therefore most practicioners of "religion" exhibit a fanatical zeal in their quest for approval.
Yet genuine Bible Christianity stands in stark contrast to the concepts of religion formulated by men because it is in fact a revelation from God to man. It alone teaches that the deity we call God is totally Sovereign in the affairs of men and graciously grants His salvation to those of His choosing--because they have no merit of their own. In fact, they are held to be totally depraved and fallen creatures, "dead in trespasses and sins" and incapable of doing anything to please Him while in that pitiful state. He on the other hand is absolute perfection, Holy in every respect, and demands perfection of all who would stand in His presence! That demand of perfection totally rules out self-effort, holds all men accountable for their actions, and literally condemns them. And while we are on the subject of perfection, allow me to point out that technically speaking, Jews and Christians worship the same God--but Judaism is still blinded to the fact that their Law of Moses codifies the requirements for the aforementioned perfection. "Keeping the Law" is totally impossible for depraved humanity and no amount of blood shed by innocent animals could ever atone for failures to do so (failures being the definition of sin). Only God can satisfy the demands of His own Holiness and Righteousness where violations are concerned and any man with a functioning brain should be able to comprehend that perfection for sinful humans through self-effort is unattainable. Religions give lip service to the fact of wrongdoing, but utterly fail in adequately addressing the consequences of it--the general principle of belief being that doing more good than evil will tip the scales of divine justice in the adherent's favor. The consensus is that one cannot know how things are going to turn out, so do all the good you can and hope for the best!
But New Testament Christianity addresses the fact of human depravity and provides a remedy for it through a complete removal of the penalty God has imposed. Romans 6:23 tells us that "the wages of sin is death"--eternal spiritual death awaits those who fail to live up to God's standard of perfection. And of course that includes every human on earth, because each and every one of us has broken those standards repeatedly. Even though some erroneously believe they can reach a state of sinless perfection after salvation, who among us would dare to claim that they have never sinned? For instance, consider the fact that it only takes one lie to make us a liar for life--and that one lie is a violation of God's perfect standard and dooms us! When asked which was the "great commandment" of the Law, the Lord replied:
" Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment" Matthew 22:37-38 (KJV).
Does any mere mortal love God with all of his heart, soul, and mind? Forget it! We're talking perfect love here folks and none of us measure up. We basically love ourselves and any love we demonstrate for God falls far short of perfection. Plus this same deplorable fact applies to all of God's commandments. Have you ever taken anything that did not belong to you? Taking a paper clip or pencil home from work technically qualifies as theft and breaks the commandment about not stealing. Have you ever allowed anything or anyone--even momentarily--to come between you and God? Sure you have and that qualifies as idolatry! Have you ever looked at someone with just the teeniest amount of sexual lust in your heart? Be honest now! If you have, you are guilty of fornication or adultery--according to the Lord's own words found in Matthew 5:28. And I could go on, but I think we get the point. All humans are totally depraved and fallen creatures--sinful by both nature and practice--with no possibility of ever being able to save ourselves by "being good." If we are to have any hope of life after death, then God must provide it.
Jesus Christ--God in the flesh--came to this earth as a human for the sole purpose of living a perfect life by keeping the Law of Moses (He is the only One Who has ever successfully done so) and then to die a sacrificial death to satisfy His own edict that "the wages of sin is death." His holiness and righteousness requires that death be the penalty for sin, so in order that some might be forgiven and saved--He died in their place and willed His own perfection to them. The point being that God saves men because men cannot save themselves.
All the "isms" of this world have tenets in common because at some level they teach that man can "do" things to please God. The belief is that through achieving and maintaining certain good works, the good will ultimately outweigh any evil they have done. But the Bible stands alone in clearly stating that unregenerate man cannot please God:
"So then those who are living the life of the flesh--catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature--cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him" (Romans 8:8, Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible commentary, emphasis mine).
So which of these totally opposite positions are we to believe? I don't know about you, but the very fact that Bible Christianity stands completely alone in this respect captures my attention. Also I have enough sense to recognize that all of us do and say many things we know are wrong. "Evil-doers," as President Bush likes to use the expression, covers far more than just certain nations within his proclaimed "axis of evil"--and is in fact a very accurate term for humanity itself. So why should a perfect God accept anything less than perfection on our part? Can we not understand that perfection cannot tolerate anything less? If God were to admit us into His holy presence, He would be defiled! One speck of dust over the size limit--a few microns in diameter--entering into a "clean room" where electronic microchips are manufactured, technically renders the room in violation of the standard. A drop of water containing a high level of radioactive contamination entering a tank holding millions of gallons of pure water renders all of it unfit for human consumption. And a sinner standing in the presence of a holy God is unthinkable! Years of telling the truth cannot possibly overcome one lie. Thousands of good deeds cannot overcome the reality of one theft. Living an entire lifetime doing good cannot overcome the reality of one act of murder. Etc., etc., etc. The whole notion of good outweighing bad is ludicrous when dealing with a perfect God. "A little sin" is like saying a woman is "a little pregnant." One sin, any sin, renders a human unfit for heaven and no amount of good intentions on his part can ever undo the damage. If he is ever to stand before a holy God, then God must make him perfect.
Perfect? "But I thought you said perfection for a human was impossible!" No, what I said was that perfection is unattainable by human effort. God can make perfect anyone He chooses by merely declaring it to be so! And the grounds upon which He can do this is found in the fact that He suffered, shed His precious blood, and died a vicarious death in their place. He satisfied His own holiness and righteousness by taking the penalty of their sin upon Himself. They are "bought and paid for" and He has declared them to be "just" in His sight. Justification is the doctrinal term for salvation and simply means that the heavenly Judge has declared certain individuals to be cleared of all charges. Positional perfection is a reality for all living Christians and literal perfection will be realized at the Rapture of the Church when all believers--living and dead--will be caught up to heaven and given perfect glorified bodies in the process. Our sinful nature will be erased and we will stand before God with the very holiness and righteousness of Jesus Christ applied to each of us.
Have you obtained (not attained) perfection yet? Has God, for Christ's
sake, forgiven you and received you into His family? Does the Holy Spirit
reside within your heart and guide your steps? Or would you have to admit
that you have been following the tenets of a religion and trying to do
the best you can? My friend, your very best falls infinitely short of perfection
and I urge you to seek it in the Person of Jesus Christ. He stands ready,
willing, and able to forgive. His salvation is free, but it requires
one to believe from the heart--without reservation--a level of belief that is not merely mental assent to the facts as set forth in the Bible, but a total commitment to His Person. And the best illustration I know of to describe this kind of belief concerns a man who stretched a cable across Niagra Falls and then proceded to walk across it, maintaining his balance with the aid of a long pole. When he reached the Canadian side of the falls, he promptly turned around and walked back to the US side. Then he took a wheelbarrow with the tire removed from the rim so it would better ride the cable and pushed it across and back. When he returned, he asked the crowd who had gathered to watch him if they believed he could do it again. "Sure!", they said--because they had already seen him do it once and had no reason to think otherwise. "O.K.," he said, "Which one of you wants to get in the wheelbarrow and go with me?" The intellectual faith displayed by the crowd instantly dissolved and no one took him up on his offer, because to do so would involve a life and death commitment. And that is precisely the degree of faith Jesus Christ requires of any and all who would trust Him for salvation. We must "get in the wheelbarrow," so to speak, and entrust our eternal soul to His care. That is basically what the Greek word pisteuo, translated "believe," means in the following verse:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" Romans 10:9 (KJV).
Are you a genuine Christian who has truly climbed into the wheelbarrow, or do you merely believe salvation is a possibility? Religion will appeal to your head and have you believe that the cable, pole, or the wheelbarrow (or a combination of all three) is responsible for salvation--but common sense should tell us that the man providing the balance and the muscle is the key. The hallmark of religion is good works and says, "This do and live." Christianity alone says, "This live and do." Jesus Christ has already done everything necessary, so any attempt at works is nothing less than blatant unbelief. That being said, are you ready to trust the Lord to put you into His "wheelbarrow" and take you home?
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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