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DOCTRINE QUESTION 91
Did not the Lord Jesus come to establish a religion per se?
Simply put, no! The Lord Jesus did not come to establish a religion as we know it, such as the Protestant, Catholic or Jewish religion. The Bible gives the definition of what actual religion is, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" James 1:27. Thus "religion" is a lifestyle the Christian lives, not to become a Christian, but because he or she IS a Christian!
The word "religion" means the "outward form of worship or service to God." If this does not come from, "Christ dwelling in the heart by faith," Ephesians 3:17, then it is just a "form of godliness that denies the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:5).
What then was the reason for the first coming of Christ into the world? Let Scripture speak, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10. Again, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10. And again, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." 1 Timothy 1:15. And again, "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!" John 3:17.
We can read from Genesis to the Revelation, and nowhere are we going to find that Christ came to begin any religion. Thus, true Christianity is not a religion, per se. A Christian is one that has been born of God, 1 John 5:1. He or she has been begotten of God and is "saved" from the penalty of their sins based solely on the sacrifice of Christ. (Hebrews 9:26).
Dear Reader, are you ready for heaven? Have you escaped the damnation of hell? "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen