Several years ago, I posted a message about Religion vs. Relationship. In review, “Religion is the belief in and/or worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” “Relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected; the state of being connected or a part of each other.” (ESV – all emphasis is mine)
In today’s world, it is becoming more and more imperative that we have the right relationship with the one and only true God, the Lord God Jehovah, Creator of the Heavens and the earth. Our Father is the pure Holy triune God, which is one absolute deity, but in the form of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Merriam-Webster)
This can be confusing not only to those who are just starting to do Bible study but even to those who have studied for some time. What we really need to remember is Our God is Omnipresent, or everywhere at once; Omnipotent, or all-powerful; and Omniscient, or all-knowing. We are asked to accept Him through faith that He is real, has always existed, and will exist forever. We need to accept that He really does love each and every one of us and does not want us to be separated from Him forever (2 Peter 3:9).
Satan and his demons, or fallen angels, try to convince as many souls as possible that this could not possibly be so. What is necessary to remember is that our Father created each and every one of us, including Lucifer and the angels, and He is not bound by the same elements as we are.
It is said that the man-made gods demand the total submission of their members to be a part of their “religion.” Those members are expected to perform deeds or works as specified by their religious leaders, and they never know when and if they have earned any part of their specific paradise. They are never to question the rules and regulations or by-laws of their particular cult.
Our Creator knew from the very beginning that we could never accomplish the purity we would need to meet His perfect standards. He has not said we need to do so many “what-so-evers” and pay whatever treasure we can come up with on our own to be worthy of His love. We needed a perfect, sinless blood sacrifice to absolutely cover our sins, and only He could provide that for us.
Before going to our “absolute requirements,” please be refreshed with Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” This applies to everyone.
Reading Romans 10:9-13, “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of All, bestowing His riches on all that call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
A couple of reminders here. First, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23) Second, we all deserve the penalty of death, but through the free gift of God, we can have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23) And Third, not everyone can speak, possibly because of an injury or a birth defect, but that does not stop us from “talking to God.” Our thoughts are loud and clear to Him as if we were actually speaking through our mouths with our voices.
Besides admitting that we are sinners, believing that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead to conquer sin and death for us, and calling on Him to forgive us and be our Savior, what else must we do? Truthfully? This meets God’s requirements for us to become a part of our wonderful Shepherd’s flock. We must have faith and believe God’s word is pure and true.
In various verses of John 10, Jesus tells about being our Shepherd and that He “willingly” came to save us. He could have stopped the process at any moment, but He submitted His complete will to the Father and provided the only blood sacrifice that would permanently wash away the sins of those who would receive and accept Him (Hebrews 10:4). Also, John 10:16 shows that Jesus was here for every living, breathing soul that was here at that time and all that would ever exist until the end of this earth. “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.”
The “other sheep” are everyone besides the Jewish people who are the ones of this fold. When He says one flock, one Shepherd, it doesn’t designate any race, sex, creed, or whatever. John 14:6 states plainly, “And Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
If a person was raised as a Muslim or Hindu or whatever, yet they come to know Jesus and called out to Him to save them, they will become a part of His flock. Of course, they would have to leave their past beliefs behind.
Also, this does not mean we will never sin again. As long as we are on this earth and in these mortal human bodies, we will sin. God knows this. However, He loves us so much that all who truly accept His Son can be forgiven of their sins. The steps are in 1 John 1:8-10. Until we have our forever-immortal bodies and a new mindset, we will sin. And when God forgives, it becomes as if they are far removed as the East is from the West, as given in Psalm 103:11-12.
As for religion, I am not speaking of any evangelical group that truly follows the Word of the Lord faithfully. Jesus had the most problems with the religious leaders of His day, as their rules and regulations had been “tweaked” from the time of Moses all the way to the time Jesus was here. He was constantly calling them out for “swallowing a camel but straining out a gnat” (Matthew 23:24).
Paul warned Timothy about such as this in 2 Timothy 4:3-4; “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth, and wander off into myths.”
To say this is not happening today would be to wear blinders. There are false prophets, or preachers, that have entered some previously Bible-based congregations and are turning and twisting the word of the Lord to try and keep people happy. Good-feeling messages and heart-thumping music keep the seats full, as well as the collection plates.
All the end of this age events in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 spoken of by our Savior are happening now and becoming more prevalent daily. Don’t forget, in Luke 21:28, Jesus said that when these things “begin” to happen, our redemption is near.
The events started about a decade ago and have grown stronger since then. There are events taking place that would have never been tolerated prior to that. Just the idea of having “churches of Satan” is a total slap in the Father’s face. The attitude that the world is right and anything to do with Jesus is hate is a sign that this world is preparing for the ultimate antichrist to come out.
Fortunately for all believers, when this happens, we will not be here according to 2 Thessalonians 2. Our Father is “allowing” the satanic forces to perform their evil deeds to keep events on His schedule. Never doubt He is in control, and the worldly souls that will not receive and accept His Son are about to be disciplined.
The true versions of the Bible are accurate, and if we follow the prophecies given, we’re right on schedule. We do not know the day or hour, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, but the Father knows. It could be any minute now.
The main point is, are you ready if it were today? We have been given the freewill choice to decide where we will spend eternity. It will either be with Jesus in Heaven or with Satan in hell. False prophets say there are many ways to heaven without Jesus. That has already been covered in this message as being false. Also, Acts 4:12 states, “And there is Salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
It’s your choice to make, and considering the rapid rise in evil around the world, today would not be too soon. Yes, it could continue for a time, but are you willing to gamble on this? All who enter the 7-year tribulation will experience the worst time this world has ever seen, and it’s so unnecessary.
“All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” For those before the tribulation who are true believers, it will be by the removal from this earth to be with Jesus in the air, to be kept from the wrath. It will still be possible to be saved during the wrath, but most likely at the cost of martyrdom.
Your eternity, your choice. God will force no one but will accept all who truly receive and accept His Son Jesus as our Savior. Consider carefully what you do next. Your forever depends on it.
Shalom! Come, Lord Jesus!