When the word “religion” is mentioned, countless thoughts come to mind. According to Wikipedia, there are roughly 4,200 religions in this world. They speak of churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, and so forth. It’s interesting that even atheism is considered a religion but without a god. (ESV – all emphasis mine)
One of the most interesting facts that the Bible gives is that our Savior had the most negative issues with the main Jewish religious body of His day. He constantly called them out for their non-godly worship requirements, and though He knew what the outcome would be, He called them hypocrites regularly.
Moses was God’s choice to formalize the Jewish faith through the 10 Commandments. The Father even provided plans for the worship temple and gave instructions for daily living that were meant to make their lifestyle easier. He wanted them to thrive and grow and to know that He was to be the only God they worshiped.
As time passed and different people became temple priests, they added to God’s word and took away from it to suit their own selfish desires. It would have been impossible to try and compare God’s original word to the temple rulers and what was actually in place when Jesus was here. In Matthew 23, Jesus gave the “woe-be’s” against the scribes and Pharisees. In verse 24, His condemnation of them was direct and to the point; “You blind guides; straining out a gnat, and swallowing a camel.” Needless to say, the majority of the Sanhedrin saw Jesus as a threat to their plush lifestyle.
After our Savior was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead, one might think there would have been a massive revival and acceptance of Him as their Savior. However, while there were some converts, many chose to deny the Savior and to hold on to their man-made traditions. Even today, with the worldwide Jewish population of about 15.2 million people, only about 1% to 2% are Messianic, which are those who accept Jesus as their Messiah.
This will change by the end of the 7-year tribulation/wrath. God will have disciplined His chosen people, and their outcome is described in Zechariah 13:8-9; “In the whole land, declares the Lord, two-thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one-third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire and refine them as one refines silver and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'”
We are currently in what is known as the “Church Age.” This is considered to have officially started at Pentecost and will last until the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” which will be the Rapture (Romans 11:25). Jesus established His “Church” and paid for it in full through His shed blood. His sacrifice for our sins was the only one the Father could accept that will last through all eternity. It was not meant for the Jewish people only, but everyone (John 10:16).
When Jesus said, “It Is Finished!” in John 19:30, His message was that everything had been done to complete the foundation for our Salvation. When the Holy Spirit, or “Helper,” came as Jesus said He would in John 16:7-14, all who would call on Jesus to be their Savior would be part of His church. This does not refer to any building made with human hands or any evangelical or other denomination but is made up of the very souls that each one of us has.
Though Jesus suffered a most agonizing death on a cross, His resurrection gave us the most “Glorious Day” ever. His death, burial, and resurrection conquered sin and death for all time, and we can choose to receive the gift He “bought” for us. Once we have done so, He sends the “Helper” to live within us until He comes to take us Home.
This is a free-will choice, and each individual person must make it for themselves. Unlike some so-called religions, our Heavenly Father will never force anyone to become a part of it, and the gift is free. There are no works or special rituals to be done, as that would say the Savior did not fully pay for our way. That would also be an insult against what Jesus did for all of us.
Even the angels rejoice when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10), and the Light of the Glorious Day becomes our true everlasting Savior.
A song by Casting Crowns released in 2009 also contains part of a 1910 hymn written by J. Wilburn Chapman. “Glorious Day – Living, He Loved Me.”
1.) One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, one day when sin was black as could be, Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin, dwelt among men; my example is He. Word became flesh, and the Light shined among us; His Glory revealed.
(ref) Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified, freely forever; one day He’s coming, Oh Glorious Day; Oh Glorious Day.
2.) One day, they led Him up Calvary’s mountain; one day, they nailed Him to die on a tree. Suffering anguish, despised and rejected, bearing our sins, My Redeemer is He. Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree, and took the nails for me. (ref)
3.) One day, the grave could conceal Him no longer; one day, the stone rolled away from the door. Then He arose, over death He had conquered; now He’s ascended, My Lord evermore.
Death could not hold Him; the grave could not keep Him from rising again. (ref)
4.) One day, the trumpet will sound for His coming; one day, the skies with His glories will shine. Wonderful day, my Beloved One bringing; My Savior Jesus is Mine! (ref)
John 10 tells us about our Shepherd and that once we truly are His, no one can take us from Him. The steps to receive and accept Jesus are found in Romans 10:9-13.
The Father wants no one to fail, as stated in 2 Peter 3:9. He will give us every opportunity to accept His Son, right up to our last breath on this earth. The repentant thief on the cross is a good example of this (Luke 23:39-43)
The unforgivable sin is to take your last breath on this earth without Jesus as your Savior. There will be no pardons, no do-overs, no forgiveness. That outcome is found in Revelation 20:11-15, and the results are for all eternity.
All who have Jesus will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, as given in 2 Corinthians 5:10. This is to receive or lose rewards for whatever we have done while on this earth.
There are no third options, which false prophets will try to tell you there are. Which judgment you will ultimately end up with will be totally your choice. Personally, I choose the Judgment Seat because no matter what, I will still be with My Lord and Savior forever. Meanwhile, I am not doing works to “earn” any part of Heaven, but anything I can do to honor my Lord and Savior is my greatest desire.
Tomorrow could be too late to avoid the wrath and to miss the calling us up to meet Jesus in the air. Today would be the best time to call on Him to ensure your eternity will be absolutely awesome.
Maranatha – Shalom! Come, Lord Jesus – Peace!