This is one topic I have been meaning to address and it has taken me soul searching, research and a lot of prayer as well.
I have recently come to find a fascination towards the Jewish people. Thousands of people flock to Israel to visit the land of God’s chosen people. It is interesting however to note that most of the Israelites, do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah and have shunned the teaching of the New Testament calling it the christian/gentile bible. Their religion is called Judaism and from a young age the Jews are taught only from their scriptures by their rabbis called the Tanakh (Old Testament) according to the christian bible. They do not believe in Jesus as their Messiah for several reasons which you can research online or on YouTube documentaries.
One Jew told his story of how he came to Jesus and he said, “I was forbidden to ever read the New Testament and told that it was a gentile book written by christians” and he never did. When he went to college in the United States, he met people always talking to him about Jesus and he got really irritated about it because as a Jew he did not believe in Jesus and after many years of putting it off, one day he decided he wanted to know for himself who this Jesus was, so he borrowed the New Testament from the library and went to read it and he said he expected to find stories about the pope and santa clause. Only to his shock, he found the first words,
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brother
He thought to himself, “wait a minute I know Abraham, Jacob and David. These are the prophets in my bible” and he read on. The rest is a beautiful story of him coming to be touched and transformed by the life and death of Jesus. He came to realize that Jesus was not a Catholic man as he thought, but a Jew just like he was, their promised Messiah and the New Testament was the complete love story between God and his people. It was also a heartbreaking segregation from his family and his Jewish friends once he confessed to them that he believed in Jesus as the Jewish Mashiach. This made me remember when Jesus said, “Do no suppose I have come to bring peace but division, from now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three.”
The reason I started with these texts is to bring to light the dangers of religion. Religion has blinded thousands of people and kept many in the dark and proud of what their religion represents. I believe it takes personal humility and responsibility for one to question why they believe what they believe and whenever we find someone saying, “we just believe it because that is how it has always been,” that should raise a red flag right there and cause one to question the more!
There is a great deal of religiosity in the world today. Many people who believe in what they found their forefathers believing as worship and have not strived to seek the truth for themselves by asking God for help. God sees the intents and motives of the human heart and it doesn’t matter whether you are jew, muslim, pagan, buddhist, atheist, shaman, zoroastrian, christian, sikh, hindu or whichever religion you practice. If your heart is pure and seeks to find the truth, He will reveal it to you. Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
I believe as well most people are afraid to ask God, “what is the truth?” because God might just show them and they will have to face the dissapointment that they could be wrong. Pride, is the word! Religious pride and this right here is what keeps most people stuck, together with the comfort they derive from religion. The pharisees and the sadducees were faced with the same dilemma when Jesus challenged them. This is a perfect example of religious pride, they were the watchmen of God’s law, the teachers of teachers, they knew the scriptures from cover to cover, quoted it in all their conversations, gave tithes and even fasted twice a week. But deep down they were filled with hate, anger, self righteousness, arrogance, intolerance, prejudice, pride, envy, jealousy, backbiting and scheming; they were people pleasers and loved the praise of men than that of God, and Jesus denounced them in the most abominable language; a brood of vipers, he called them.
I too, was proud to be catholic, and I was filled with anger and frustration, I was arrogant and full of myself, I thought I was always better than others in many ways and even thought my small sins were not as grave as many of those around me or in the world. I couldn’t imagine somebody trying to challenge my beliefs as well, “what of the rosary? what of the mass? I asked. Don’t I believe in Jesus too?” I believed in Jesus alright! I believed in Him with all my heart, and let me tell you, even the demons believe as well, oh yes they believe and tremble! James 2:19
Religion has been the biggest stumbling block for thousands of people for the past two centuries since the scriptures were made widely available through the printing press from the 18th century and distributed all over the world. How many of us think of the good we have done in this world and say to oursleves, “even God in heaven will say, I did this and this” Jesus said, On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of iniquity. Matthew 7:22-23
A profession of religion has become popular with the world. Rulers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, merchants, join the churches and mosques as a means of securing the respect and confidence of the society, and advancing their worldy interests. Thus they seek to to cover all their unrighteous transactions under this guise. Yet we wonder why the world is in such a state, because even the church itself has been transformed by the society.
One time I was reading the book of Revelation and as I was reading through chapter 17, I wrote a question just above the page and asked ‘is the woman the church?’
The spirit of worldly conformity has invaded our places of worship. How widely have the churches departed from the Bible standard of humility, self-denial, simplicity, and godliness, said John Wesley, in speaking the right use of money: “Do not waste any part of so precious a talent, merely in gratifying the desire of the eye, by superfluous or expensive apparels….Lay out nothing to gratify the pride of life, to gain the admiration of praise of men….’so long as thou doest well unto thyself, men will speak good of thee, so long as thou art clothed in purple and fine linen, and farest sumptuously everyday, no doubt many will applaud thy elegance of taste, thy generosity and hospitality. But do not buy their applause so dear, Rather be content with the honor that cometh from God —Wesley, Works, Sermon 50, “The use of money”
How is your heart truly? Have you met the Lord Jesus? Have you been to the cross in humility and acknowledged you are a sinner who needs help, who needs a saviour, who needs strength to overcome the world? Do you despise your brothers in your heart because of their beliefs? Do you judge others? Do you look down on others yet you profess to be a christian? This is the reality of every human being in the world, we are all sinners, all have come short of the glory of God and all must repent or perish.
My plea is that we search the scriptures for truth, let us not be satisfied with religious practices but be led by God’s Holy Writ.
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
The more the priests increased, the more they sinned against me; they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful
God desires that no one should perish but all be saved and we are not saved by our works. It will not matter to God whether we were saints or sinners, we were good people who helped others or we had good and sincere hearts. It will only matter if we met Jesus at the cross and we allowed Him to be our Lord and saviour, the master of our thoughts and whole life. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1Samuel 15:22
By their fruits shall ye know them Jesus said. Many have religion inside their hearts but no love, no mercy, no grace.
2 Timothy 3:2
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,
treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–
having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
All these should cause us to pause and search our lives. Jesus taught and said, For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20
How are our hearts? Have we truly met the Lord Jesus?
I do wish you all a blessed day and weekend ahead and thank you too for reading. May we have a burning and pure desire to know the truth, to seek the truth and more than this, may God reveal to us His hidden mysteries, that we may understand Him and His purposes for our lives.