Walking the Line Between Religiosity and Reprobation
Tags: [learn], [ideas], [bible]
The Bible is full of a lot of commands for believers; these commands tell us how to like morally and keep us from becoming a reprobate. However, there is another side to this coin that Jesus often spoke out against, and that is Religiosity. Religiosity is defined as excessive or affected piety; basically, thinking we are better than another person just because of our religion or religious rituals.
These two extremes are something I often think about. We, as believers, will usually catch ourselves in that excessive piety thinking "I'm glad I'm not as bad as that person."
When in reality we are.
Sin is sin. One is not more wicked than another from the perspective of the Bible. From our perspective murder is much worse than stealing which is worse than a white lie. However, when we take the Bible for what it says we see that every sin is worthy of eternity in hell. Because sin is so easy to observe in our lives, we push against it and in doing so run the risk of becoming religious.
The very thing that Jesus called out the Pharisees for when he walked the earth:
[Mat 7:5 KJV] Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
[Luk 13:15 KJV] The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
The above verses are two of many examples where Jesus calls out the people on their moral pedestal. Even now, we do these very same things; one thing I let turn into excessive piety is the King James Bible. After much research it's clear to me that it is the only Bible an English speaking Christian should read, and this can lead me into thinking everyone that reads another version is less of a Christian.
A foolish idea.
Do I think people can be saved by reading other versions? Yes. The growth may not be the same due to what is taken out of the new versions, but I'm never going to be able to convince someone to stop using the NIV or ESV. If you are interested in learning why it's best to stay away from the new versions and only use the KJV pick up a copy of New Age Versions by G. A. Riplinger, it's a wonderfully in-depth book.
This example may ruffle some feathers but it's been on my mind a lot lately, and that is the act of going to church. This is the most prevalent in my life right now. Everyone seems to think that going to a building once a week makes you a "good Christian" and not going means you are backslidden. The idea that God wants us to be in debt to pay for some building seemed crazy to me, so what did I do?
I searched the Bible.
There are 116 references to the word church in the King James Bible and only once does it refer to a building. That one time is when a pagan is talking about their temple where they worship their false gods. Every other time it is referring to the group of people that follow and have faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
The verse that gets tossed in support of attending a building every week is Hebrews 10:25
[Heb 10:25 KJV] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This is the book of Hebrews, written to the Hebrews an there is no mention of church in the verses before this one. Even if this book were written by Paul for the Gentile believers, it still would not warrant us building buildings and attending a service every week.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us to spend time with other believers, talk about the faith, and help each other grow. Just attending a church building, listening to a sermon, and then dipping does not honor the verse at all. Where meeting with fellow believers in a home or out in public to talk about our faith and build each other up does.
In short, don't let traditions and customs become a form of religious idolatry. It's easy for us to see all the sin in our lives but not so easy to look at all the places that we are modern day Pharisees.
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