I love Jesus and I love His Religion! Yes, I know, this is out of fashion and unpopular at this moment in history … oh, well - take this as a challenge! There has been a negative connotation with the word “religion” in recent decades. There has been a popular movement of “Spiritual, but not religious” and “it’s just me and Jesus” theology. This mindset is fueled by relativism, individualism and secularism, and not the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The word “religion” is often associated with the religiosity that Jesus condemns in the Gospels, but we must remember that Jesus was a practicing Jew who came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not to abolish them (Matt 5:17). He established a Church, built a religion and created a Kingdom (Matt 16:18). Jesus doesn’t hate religion; He hates sin, evil, pride, hypocrisy, legalism and religiosity.
When people hear the word “religion”, they often think about division and doctrines that confine and separate us. However, it is true religion that unites us and liberates us. Religion provides the channels to help understanding the overwhelming tidal wave of who Jesus is. The Bible teaches us that religion that is true is actually beautiful and leads us to a deeper understanding of God (James 1:27). The truth sets us free (John 8:32)!
In a world without truth, then yes, forcing opinions on others does seem harsh. But Jesus is the Truth and established a Church that He guides along with the Holy Spirit (John 20:23 & Acts 2:4). This Church is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) and the religion known as Christianity. The Bible also describes the Church as the light of the world, the salt of the earth and a city set on a hill (Matt 5:14). It is not just vague opinions and personal interpretations of revelation (2 Peter 1:20) - Jesus left us a deposit of faith, real teachings and commandments and gave His Church actual authority (Luke 10:16).
I can understand the point of the religion haters out there since understanding doctrine is different than experiencing God. This experience of God is unfathomable and cannot be defined, but it doesn’t mean that religion should not exist. I join the haters in attesting most religions, but I am passionate about the religion Jesus established. If we don’t claim a religion than we end up subscribing to our own religion or unorganized religion.
While it is easy to hate on religion, we can’t ignore some of the good things in this world that we wouldn’t have without Christ’s religion. Christianity has brought us hospitals, universities, public education, orphanages; Christianity has championed science and medicine; Christianity has provided the morals and values that guide the western world and Christianity has been the largest charity organization decade upon decade.
I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I love His Church and I love His religion!