What is all this talk about Religion
Does your religion profess a belief in God? Do you believe in the religion of Jesus Christ?
To honestly answer a question like that we need to know what the individual is thinking it means to be "God". After all Paul said there are gods many. It has been the custom of people for centuries to think or say they worship God when they in fact were worshiping men who were no gods. If men can be as gods and even Jesus said that it is written that we are gods it would seem important to find out what that word “god” really means.
With the coming of Jesus we were supposed to know the God of Heaven by knowing Jesus. That knowledge of the son gave us a knowledge of the Father, who set us free. Yet, almost immediately there was concern that we would go back into bondage to the “beggarly elements” again.
Those “beggarly elements” were the elements of the world that had us in bondage when we did not know better. The word “elements” is the same word we see as rudiments of the world in Colossians and also in Peter when he talks about those elements of the world melting.
It is very easy to say that we believe in Jesus. It was very easy for the Pharisees to say they believed in God, but Jesus said they did not know the Father, because if they did they would have known Jesus. Before we can answer the question do you believe in Jesus and the Father we need to know “Do you know the Father or Jesus?”
Doctrines are often created with complex eschatology and mental mysteries to hide the personal sins that results from straying from the basics of real faith. We should define the terms of religiious doctrines so that they can be held up to the light of the whole gospel of the kingdom.
It seems fairly evident that many people who claim they believe in the trinity or Jesus, or even God often do not agree on much else. In fact, sometimes, people calling themselves Christians seem more like the Pharisees than the early Church. They have lots of rituals and ceremonies, they sing and make praises, but are they taking the Lord's name in vain because they do not do the will of the Father?
Are they not doing the will of the Father because they do not know the Father? If they do not know the Father then how can they know the son?
It is only reasonable that someone is missing something about who Jesus is, or who God is. Just because some one says they know Jesus or the Father and believe in them and accept them as God does not make it so. They may be lying to you or to themselves or both. It is far easier to profess something with our lips than to profess it with our lives.
Jesus points out that the only way to really know if someone knows the Father or the Son is by the works they do, the fruits of their lives. This has nothing to do with earning salvation it is about how we bear witness and profess our faith.
We also know that Jesus warns about many who will claim to come in His name but do not know Him, nor do they know the Father. They do not only not know Him but though they profess him they are actually workers of iniquity.
Jesus makes it clear that it is not our words that make us His brother or the God in Heaven our Father, but it is our faith and our faith alone. That faith will determine what we do and produce a profession to the world what we believe.
These are all warnings and precepts professed by Christ and and the prophets of God. They are repeated by those who followed Christ and served God people in the early Church.
We will need to know what Jesus said to do and not to do in order to find out who really believes in Jesus and the Father. Many may be under a strong delusion about where their faith. We need to look at who, how, or what they are worshiping and what religion they really practice. Is it “pure religion”?
To know what the early Church did and did not do will assist us in understanding the gospel. Workers of iniquity are mentioned by David more than any other book of the Bible and evidently they are out to snare us. We know that the way to the kingdom is narrow and we need to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
An honest answer to these questions can be determined, but the nature of the religion we profess. Religion from religare to restrain, tie back
Religion 1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and over ruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies.... From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Have you done any outward acts to recognize any god or gods other than the God of Heaven?
We may need to ask ourselves a few questions in order to determine if we understand what it means to believe Jesus is God or at least our God and if we are seeking to do what he said to do land the Father has wanted us to do.
Do you owe obedience to anyone other than your Father in Heaven?
IW e need to understand why Jesus said to Call no man earth Father. Or why he said to honor our Father and Mother as a part of the Ten Commandments. Or do we bow down or owe our service to anyone other than the God the Father?
Do your ministers serve you according to the perfect law of liberty? Or have they lulled you to sleep and allowed the kings of the gentiles to lay heavy burdens upon you, and delivered you back into bondage of Egypt to serve other gods who are not following after the teachings of Jesus the Christ, Yeshua the Messiah?
There are dozens of verses that speak of the Kingdom of Heaven and twice that number which speak of the Kingdom of God. Jesus speaks of it being at hand and tells us to do the same. He takes the kingdom from one group and appoints a kingdom to another group as he promised.
The Bible speaks of governments and not making contracts man, many times, but of religion it is only mentioned 5 time.
The first is Acts 26:5 where Paul speaks of the Religion of the Pharisees.
Then Galatians 1:13 and Galatians 1:14 which mentions the "Jews' religion."
Then James 1:26 a man who seems to be religious, and that man's religion is vain.
And the last place it states in James 1:27:
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Pure religion and undefiled is to look after those without a family in their affliction or tribulation or needy families and to keep yourself in this administration to the needy from being spotted by the activities or character of the world.
The word world is the same Greek word used where Jesus says His kingdom is not of this world.
What was it?
It wasn't Aion' which means an unbroken age.
It wasn't 'oikoumene' which has to do with inhabited but it does not mean planet..
It wasn't the word 'ge' which is the closest word to meaning planet earth that you will find in the Bible.
It wasn't 'erets' meaning land, earth, soil.
So, what word did the author use to describe the world that Jesus Kingdom was not in and that we should keep our selves unspotted from?
The word 'world' is translated from the word 'kosmos' which means "an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government." It came from the word komizo meaning "to care for, take care of, provide for" or "carry off what is one's own," which is what the harmonious arrangement or constitution, systems of Rome was doing with their Pax Romana.
Jesus did not come preaching the Religion of heaven on earth but the Kingdom of heaven. The kingdom was on the planet, but it was not of a particular “world order”.
When pure religion is mentioned in the Bible the Greek word is threskeia. It derived from the verb throsko, which means to move with expectation, to search.
"As used by Herodotus (ii.37) and other Greek writers, threskeia means "'religious conduct or practice' in general, with particular emphasis on the zealousness of such practices.”
Threskeia is specifically the procedures and ceremonies by which one worships their god or gods, to honor, sacrifice, serve, or contribute to him or her or them, as the case may be. Religion is the manner in which you conduct yourself in relationship to your gods or god, your rites and ceremonies, rituals and rules, precepts and procedures. It is how you go about seeking God, His kingdom and His righteousness.
The kingdom of heaven's religion is the procedures and ceremonies of the congregation of God the Father and is how they govern themselves. Those activities must be immersed in righteousness.
Visiting the needy does not mean stopping by and chatting with sick people or the poor. It has to do with caring for their needs. To visit is from the Greek word episkeptomai which means “... to look after, to take care of, to see to – to be present to help, to be on hand to aid.”
That pure religion certainly includes caring for the needy of our congregations. Jesus came to serve and praised the good Samaritan, healing and feeding the needy at every opportunity. The early Church provided all the social welfare of the Christians. In God's kingdom there are only free will offerings given in charity with faith and hope under the perfect law of liberty.
The ministers of God kingdom cannot drag you into court and punish you for not contributing enough to the needy. In the Old Testament those men would be called "elohyms" or gods and in the New Testament they would have been called "theos", also translated gods.
These are the same words the Bible translates into both gods and God. Strong's Bible Concordance tells us that both terms were used in the Old and the New Testaments in courts to address magistrates and judges at the time of Christ. [a.k.a. There are gods many in the courts of the the gentiles].
Not contributing to the needy of society, while selfish, is not an actual crime. The power to rule over people and judge them as too selfish comes not from criminality but from the fact that people have made some agreement or covenant with men who exercise authority.
This is usually done because men who call themselves benefactors, but exercise authority over the people, offer some system of social welfare, or promise that they will make the people secure secure. People are enticed to sign up, to make themselves a surety for these benefits.
These men obtain the right to force the contributions of those who become members of their administrative schemes of social welfare. Unfortunately what should have been for your welfare becomes a snare. This warning about consenting, making a contract, taking benefits is repeated over and over in the Bible.
Your contribution becomes a form of homage [a.k.a. worship] This is a form of religion and you are bound by the terms of your agreement. It is not the religion of John the Baptist or Jesus the Christ or our Father in Heaven. It is the opposite of Christ's instructions to His Church.
Rome and the Pharisees took care of their needy. They had some temples that operated on some actual charity, but almost all were being subsidized by government funds. By everyone becoming a member of a political society the people may apply to the men, who call themselves Benefactors. The only help the people receive is extracted from the people by men who exercised authority. This is their religion. They do not have faith in love but in force. The do not hope for aid but trust in entitlements. The people must give full faith and credit to the ruling judges of their government. Those ruling judges are the gods of their world and Christ's kingdom will have no par of it.
Jesus preached a government that operated according to the perfect law of liberty, by faith, hope, and charity where the people loved their neighbor and their neighbor's rights as much as they loved themselves and their own rights. The Kingdom of God and the righteous Church instituted by Christ was a system of self government where it was against the law to covet your neighbor's goods or pray to men who call themselves benefactors but exercise authority on over the other because that was a covetous, deceitful, iniquitous, net that would snare the people back into the bondage of Egypt again.
Modern governments offer welfare to the people but not without the price of liberty under God. Like Cain, Lemech, Nimrod, Pharaoh the people are subjects. We should all know and cannot deny that those workers of iniquity makes us slaves and leads to bondage.
There are numerous articles and books available to explain the contractual nature of government and why we were warned hundreds of times about the danger of making contracts, covenants and constitutions that may lead to bondage through agreement and consent.
“Redemption is deliverance from the power of an alien dominion and the enjoyment of the resulting freedom. It involves the idea of restoration to one who possesses a more fundamental right or interest. The best example of redemption in the Old Testament was the deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage, from the dominion of the alien power in Egypt.” Zondervan’s Bible Encyclopedia
Repent, and seek the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness.