Learn how to boost your spiritual immune system – Virus 3: Religion
This is one of the most dangerous viruses for the body of Christ, the virus responsible for actually killing the Lord Jesus on the Cross.
‘Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6).
This yeast refers to the customs, hypocrisy, traditions, doctrines, rituals and ceremonies of the Pharisees – a religious group in the time of Jesus.
The term ‘religion’ comes from the Latin ‘religare’, which is supposed to signify a reconnection with God. But since it is a creation of human hands, it is unable to unite man and God. Its principles differ radically from the intelligent faith that pleases God, as we see in Hebrews 11:6: ‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’
Since they were contaminated with this virus, the Pharisees could not comprehend who Jesus was. They hated Him and wanted to kill Him at any cost. The very God that they were searching for was standing in front of them, but their yeast blocked them from recognising Him.
As we have already learnt, half-truths are equal to or worse than in-your-face lies. Religion offers what appears to be the truth, which is in fact all mixed up with lies to deceive the unprepared. Here are a few examples of religious lies (or half-truths):
‘You need religion to get to God.’ A LIE! The Bible says: ‘There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:5).
‘Your good works will save you.’ A LIE! Salvation comes through faith in Jesus, ‘who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not by our works, but by His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began’ (2 Timothy 1:9).
‘You should embrace suffering.’ A LIE! Religion makes excuses for and attempts to justify suffering (karma, fate, cross, testing, etc.). Faith brings a clear-cut end to suffering.
‘All paths (religions) lead to God.’ A LIE! ‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14:6)
This is a deadly virus. Thousands who are contaminated with it, kill and are killed every single day. It will attempt to contaminate you too! Here is an example of how it acts: ‘How can you betray your family by joining that other religion?’ We must follow God’s direction, not family tradition (read Ezekiel 20:18 and Matthew 15:2-7).
Additional religious yeasts (false spirituality) include reincarnation, idolatry, baptism of infants, fate, karma, horoscopes, psychics and predestination; being slain in the spirit; praise and worship being the answer to everything; the devil does not exist; we don’t need to fight the devil to overcome him; it’s okay to live in sin because we’re saved by grace (half-truth); God is everywhere so we don’t really need to go to church; since the Bible was written by men it contains mistakes; I can’t have demons because I’m a faithful member of a church (though there is evidence of bad fruit); all we have to do is love each other, etc.