Letter: Bible says religion is no help

Dear editor,

The News-Leader printed a column on this page in their Sunday, Feb. 26 edition. That column was inviting readers to consider religion. I was a bit unsure if the author had a problem with religion or a problem with religion in government. Since there were no Bible references provided, I was not sure from what position the author was offering his opinions about God, Bible, sin and religion.

The author seemed to be alluding that religion is really whatever you make of it. To that, I would sometimes agree. The problem is that all of man’s religions only have the potential to give their adherents satisfaction while they are here on earth. Once they die and enter eternity, the Bible says that religion does no one any good.

The Apostle John gives us the account of a very religious man coming to Jesus and indicating that he was wanting to make sure he was going to Heaven. In John 3:1-7, Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again.  Jesus told him that we are born once physically, but Heaven is only for those that are born a second time through faith in Christ.  The religion of Nicodemus was filled with checking off actions from a list, but it was missing the personal relationship with Jesus, the Son of God!

Mt. 19:16-22 records for us the account of another younger religious man coming to Jesus and specifically asking about eternal life.  He explains to Jesus how his religion had kept him pure and following all the rules.  Jesus put the man to a test of his sincerity when the Lord told him to go sell everything he had and come follow Him. Because the man was very rich, he could not part with his money and material things. His religion could take him no further than wishful desires!

Even King Solomon tried to live by religion (in fact, many religions of all his illegitimate wives – 1 Kgs. 11:4).  He concluded his search of life’s purpose by saying in Eccl. 12:12 that the conclusion is to fear (reverence) God and obey His commandments because that is the whole duty of man.  Solomon was remembering the personal relationship he had with God when he became King in 1 Kgs. 3:3-10.

God’s whole design of this world was for man to have a personal relationship with Him.  Genesis 1:1 says that God created the heavens and the earth.  In Genesis 2:7 God breathed into Adam the breath of life. That made Adam different from all the other parts of creation. Adam and Eve enjoyed personal relationship with God until they disobeyed and allowed sin to enter our world. From that point on, every one of us has been born with a sin nature (Rom. 3:10; 5:12).

God has given us the Bible by means of inspiration (2 Tim. 3:15-17 and 2 Pet. 1:21) so that we would be able to know how to regain this relationship with Him. The Bible gives to us all of our guidance along with the help of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Pet. 1:3 the Apostle said that we have everything we need for life and godliness.

The previous author mentioned a series of “filters” which are involved in religion. That is not needed in a salvation relationship with Christ. In Acts 17:11, when the people of Berea heard gospel preaching, they went directly to the Scriptures to see if those things were true.

In a few weeks many of us will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter. The resurrection of Christ proves everything Jesus said is true. He said in Jn. 14:6 that He is the only way, the truth, and the life for anyone to come to God or get to Heaven. Jesus proved that He is the same God who created this world (Jn. 1:1-3) and the one who loved us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). This fact counters the letter of last Sunday which said, “The Bible is only for the Christian faith.” The truth is that the Bible is the only way for eternal life for all people! All of man’s religions have dead founders! God created the world and us, gave His Son for our sin’s punishment, had Him to rise again, and will judge every person by what they do with Jesus and His claims for salvation (Ac. 17:31).

It is my faith in the Christ of the Bible that defines who I am. I cannot separate that out of any part of my life and being.  I am a Christian 24/7.  It does not matter if I work on an assembly line or serve in a governmental position. It is my biblical faith that sets my beliefs in all parts of life.  Religion will come up short in attempting that.

-Pastor Doug Cowan, First Baptist Church of Rochelle