The Message

Religion

Religion – An organization with established tenets.

Religion does more harm than good in the spirit and flesh. It hurts when you see leaders of the congregations’ wrongdoing and can get away with it. They enjoy life, clothing their bodies with expensive materials, expensive cars, houses, and top-of-the-line vacations at the expense of whatever they make from the congregation. What hurt most was when the gospel of prosperity did not work out, and the members left with broken promises.

The church leaders never cease asking for donations, putting aside the promised gospel. These people are shameless. They need a face of stone to support their lifestyle. Schism is happening again, and those who fear leaving the church have become normal during and after the COVID of 2019. The traditional church is in the fall, and many feel that having one-on-one with God is more uplifting.

According to the gospels, Jesus said the greatest commandment was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind.” Love your neighbors as you love yourself. I support the idea of using respect in place of love in some approaches. We cannot love neighbors with exotic minds than a Philo kind of love. It is safer to use respect with this new generation full of violence and disagreement coupled with Deceit and temptation.

Religion is a fabricated structure that controls the minds of people. This religious organization sometimes acts like a business, fundraising, selling books their ministers authored, and extra collection baskets for building funds. It promises that if the members give more, they will receive double, if not triplefolds. Brainwashing using fear tactics is very effective; some teachings are superstitious beliefs. When we say we must fear God, it does not mean to be afraid but to avoid offending Him by doing things against His will. Every sin without forgiveness has corresponding consequences,

Forgiveness gives peace of mind to both the offender and the forgiver. Nevertheless, the issue is that they do not explain it that way, and they get those who lack knowledge of the word of God by just teaching half-truths, or maybe the teacher’s knowledge is limited. Some Christian denominations only teach or preach the scriptures according to the tenets of their organization and eliminate, if not put aside, the scripture that does not belong to their doctrine. The scriptures they believe are not part of their organization.   

Religion uses an invisible God and establishes it as a good provider, including guidance and protection. Those in complete submission become the instruments to spread this newfound love, teaching that they can get all they want by just requesting and providing it. People, especially Gentiles during the time of Jesus, were hungry for something Divine, a spiritual thirst. And one good event was when Jesus met the Samaritan woman by the well and asked for a drink. It is a cultural divide for a Jew to speak to a non-Jew.

The apostles were surprised when they saw Jesus talking to a Gentile or non-Jew. Is this the 360-degree turn that Gentiles became part of Christianity? When the unknown Gentile woman returned to their community, she preached the water of salvation she had learned from Jesus. The grace of God follows where we are and is always there for every one of us. Regardless of our deep or shallow relationship with Him, our lives are valuable to Him, enough to draw near Him.

Colossians 2:23, whether written by Paul or someone close to Him (followers), is acceptable when it does not harm anyone. (As we learned, Paul has never been in Colossae, and the New Testament Scholars have agreed on this long-standing discussion and finally agree that this letter is Pseudepigrapha). This letter is a suitable warning about religion not to fall for the attractiveness of its claim, which sounds great but does not support the truth that only leads to emptiness. It is deceptive that we need to distance ourselves. Religion has no value in man’s sinful nature; it cannot save our souls. Religion is an enabler of sins. It allows members to do their own thing as long as they remain active in their association, and the assurance of the remission of sin is just one of the many lies attached to it.  

Listen to what God said about religion: “…every abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31)

The message of God to the people of Gomorrah was telling them that their sacrifices did not mean anything to Him; God said, “I have more than enough.” God has no pleasure in the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals, the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats, and advises them to stop bringing meaningless offerings. When God’s patience is exhausted, He can no longer bear any form of assembly to calm Him and says that even if he offers many prayers, He will not listen. It tells us that God will not accept bribes or abuse His patience. (Isaiah 1:10-15)

In Amos 5:21-24 God rejects festivals and has no pleasure, even a solemn assembly. Praising and worshipping him has no effect. It is just a noise to His ears. God is love; our hard-headedness disobeying Him will only turn to arrogance and forget it. God hates the pride.  

Religion does more harm than good. It hurts our goal to unite in one spirit because of varied beliefs and teachings. Religion causes division among believers of the same God. Humans only unite when they start calling the name of the LORD in unison: one God, the LORD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When God formed the man of the Earth and made a woman out of him, it is evident that humans, man, and woman on the Earth are one flesh. Therefore, whatever God has joined, “Let no one separate.”

God wants us to help each other when hardship strikes; this shows that it is one form of living as one. However, sometimes, we are desperate to win the challenges of the deceptive and provocative strength of the world, which pushes us to give up our relationship with God and accept the attractive offer of luxurious living and power to control other lives that most politicians have in common. With what is happening in this world, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the powerful dominate the rule of law, and corruption is unstoppable and becomes the privilege of the people in power. The powerful use their money to do the talking.

How much more time before the hardship of the underprivileged ends? Even though God shows how nature works against a religious establishment, corruption remains the norm of living among elected and appointed public officials. God saw the destruction of His kingdom (family) on Earth. Humanity already maximized God’s patience to the highest peak, and God extended the long overdue grace, which commenced after the death of the Son Jesus thousands of years ago. Religion must come together as one declaring peace on Earth and have reconciled for the last time with the Father Almighty. The time has come to hand down judgment; the only escape is not to see how He will do it.

Focusing on God’s word and uttering it, like when the evil force tempted Jesus until it fled. We have to equip ourselves with the word of God by reading the Bible anytime and not when time permits or it is better with the scheduled time. Praying consistently increases the strength of our faith and hopes to deliver us from evil thoughts. The mind is the arena that the enemy wants to control first, and then the senses. Always acknowledge God’s presence and show gratefulness for the spirit of life. Always give Him praise and glory, which He already has, but He deserves to hear from us that He is everything to us.

Our true confession shows humility that we are nothing without Him. Without Him, living in darkness is just a living dead existing without feeling the beauty of hope. While living in the light is eternal joy. Our prayers will not be in vain when we live by God’s standards. We can glorify Him, and He will acknowledge it; in return, He will bless us from head to toe. It means complete blessings, like living where milk and honey are the focus of the faithful to live forever. Milk and honey mean everything that we need. God knows we are not strong enough to deal with principalities, and we only depend on Him. He will never leave or forsake us, which is a promise. God is our Father, and His desires always come to our aid.

We can sin without knowing when we depend on and trust our salvation in religion. Religion can lead to idolatry. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understandings, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3: 5-6). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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