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“Religious or Christian”  

There are a lot of really good people around.  In fact, I tend to believe there are more good ones than bad.  We all know some really, really good people and maybe those who know us might even put you and me in that category.  We’re friendly, are faithful to work, go to church, pay our bills (and tithe), love our family, nor have habits that can physically harm us or others.  A person just described is often referred to as a nice, church going, “religious” person.  And every word of that statement may be true.  But, did you know an individual could actually believe in God, go to church, pray, and read their Bible, but still not have a relationship with Christ?  You aren’t such a person.  Are you?

 

Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6).  In other words, we can believe in God and do many wonderful things, but without repenting of our sins, we are still lost spiritually.  There are those depending on God’s mercy, thinking a loving God will send “no one to Hell.”  What everyone must realize is God never sends anyone to Hell.  He gives us a choice to accept Him as Savior or reject Him.  Jesus told the most “religious” man of His day, Nicodemus, “You MUST be born again!”  The point is, we can be a good person, very religious, but without Christ in our heart, that’s all we are – religion.  Don’t forget, it was the “religious people” that put Jesus on the Cross.

 

Here’s a simple example.  Chris and I have been putting up Christmas decorations.  We run several strands of lights and set them to a timer.  I string the gutters, Chris does the bushes and finally when we run out of lights, I’ll connect them and run a cord to the timer which is plugged into an electrical outlet.   We usually have the lights on our home up early.  Once they are in place, I set the timer and let them click on the first night making sure everything works.  They are then shut them off until Thanksgiving night.  You know this, but I’m going to tell you anyway – even though there are many cords in the yard and on the roof, if I pull one single cord going into the outlet, none of the lights will come on.  The lights and cords are still in place, they are just powerless. 

 

That’s the difference between religion and Christianity.  To be a Christian, requires a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is the power source that forgives all sin, gives the promise of never leaving you and provides the only hope anyone has of Heaven.  In John 15:5 He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches, without me, you can do nothing.”  Are you religious or a born again Christian?  You may look good and sound good, but like beautiful lights on a house or yard that hang in darkness because they are powerless without electrical power.  Likewise, without Christ, you and I spiritually powerless.  We may look good, but we are lost spiritually.

 

Pastor Carnes