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Other Articles from The Villager

Religion can be dangerous


by Pastor Ben Araeb


 

 

The law requires poison bottles to be clearly labeled as such in order to prevent accidental deaths.
Unfortunately, no such law exists to protect the unsuspecting in the matter of religion.
There are countless deadly religions and millions perish spiritually because of them. No wonder so many are lost! With each religion claiming to be the true one, how are people to know the real way to God amidst such a bewildering situation?
There is a way to know and perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn that there is a test which will identify the true way to God.
The religions of the world ask men to believe something, whereas the Bible asks men to receive someone:
“. . . as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).
Receiving a person is not the same thing as accepting religious doctrines. This then is the test - receiving Christ. One can believe all the things that he wants to, but that’s not the same as receiving a person.
Perhaps you are one who is religious. Does your religion include a personal encounter with Jesus Christ? If not, you are in danger. Why, even Christianity is dangerous as a religion if all one has is the Biblical doctrine and not Christ personally.
The Easter season testifies that the Christ of the Bible is a risen, living Person.
He said, “I am the resurrection and the Life.”
He lives and right this minute knocks at the door of men’s hearts. Hear His offer of Himself: “Be-hold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in ...” (Revelation 3:20).
That door, dear friend, is the door of your heart. How often you have said “Come in” to your neighbour’s knock at the front door? Won’t you respond to Jesus’ knock at your heart’s door? He awaits your invitation.
Are you a Sunday morning Christian?
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbours. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when he judges the world” – 1 Peter 2:12 (NKJV)
One of the things I struggled with on my path to becoming a Christian and the accusation I often hear from current non-believers is the perceived hypocrisy among people who call themselves Christians.
Statistics show that the divorce rate among Christians is the same as among non-Christians. Christians commit adultery and fornicate just as often as non-Christians. Christians are also just as likely as non-Christians to resort to unethical behaviour in the workplace.
We bicker and fight and show hatred and intolerance when we should show compassion and use our opportunities to win lost souls to Christ.
It’s as if we go to Church on Sunday morning and then, when we go home to change out of our Sunday clothes, we also change out of our Sunday “Church” behaviour and put on everyday worldly behaviour for the rest of the week.
If we are just like the non-believers, what reason do they have to become a Christian? They are already “like us.” Is that what Christ-like means?
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
How are you different from the non-Christian people around you?
Do the people around you know that you are a Christian?
Do they know because you tell them or because they see it in the way you behave? The way you live your life?
If someone placed you in a room full of non-believers and an independent witness observed the room for an hour, would they be able to pick you out as the Christian in the room?
 “Let your light shine so before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” - Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)
When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit dwells IN us, to shine through us as an example of Christ, so that non-believers see Him in us and turn to God.
We are “in the world, but not of the world” and our actions should reflect our identity in Christ. Everything you do or do not do should be a reflection of Christ, regardless of the cost. Sometimes, that means you might be hated for refusing to go along with unethical behaviour. You might be thought of as “weird.” You might lose a good friend. You might even lose your job. Do it anyway.
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.’ But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” – 1 Peter 3:14-17 (NKJV)