Religion is the greatest deceptive tool used by the devil in the church today. Religion emphasizes the outward, promotes man’s tradition instead of God’s Word and is highly ritualistic.

Religion bases the righteousness of its adherents on the performance of good works instead of living by faith. Religion appears clean on the outside but is filthy on the inside. Religion is a killer that has claimed the souls of numerous victims in the history of mankind. In short, religion pollutes, deceives and damns.

Whitewashed Tombs

Perhaps the most deceptive religious system ever imposed on man is that which was found in the first century among the various Jewish sects comprised of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. These three groups were responsible for teaching God’s Law, leading God’s people in weekly devotion and the administration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. However, in reality these three groups conspired to lead people away from God instead of to Him.

It is said of these groups that they taught man’s tradition instead of God’s Word, they placed heavy burdens on the people that they themselves could not bear and worst of all they twisted God’s Word to promote their own prosperity. These groups made a show of religion, praying in public, giving alms in public and performing various rituals in public; all to be seen by men and heralded for their good works.

Jesus said of these groups that they appeared as whitewashed tombs who were clean on the outside but filled with dead men’s bones on the inside. Jesus called them hypocrites, imposters and frauds. Jesus went as far as to say that their evangelistic efforts bore fruit only for hell.

Unfortunately religion dies hard and so therefore it can found today in the hearts of many churchgoers and their leaders around the world.

Hyper Exclusivity

These aberrant religious groups emphasize local church doctrine over Biblical doctrine; such as, the need to be baptized or to speak in tongues or to be a member of their church in order to be saved.

They emphasize giving money for their pet projects, how you dress and crack the whip to perform good works. They demand strict obedience to their doctrine while Jesus is relegated to an obscure corner of the church.

Paul unequivocally denies these deceptive teachings in his treatise to the Galatians who were being lead astray by those mandating circumcision as a means to salvation which is no different than mandating baptism, speaking in tongues or local church membership.

Paul says with Apostolic authority that those who so deny the sufficiency of Christ in all aspects of salvation are accursed for their deceptive teaching. Paul vehemently argues that a person is saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone and that any other message is wrong, period.

Jesus Is Lord

Maybe you have grown up in a religious home or a religious church. Maybe today you are burned out, tired, burdened by the do this don’t do that mentality. If that is you, then I pray that you will heed the Words of Jesus who beckoned all those who are burdened and heavy laden to find rest in Him.

Only Jesus Christ truly saves people and therefore gives them rest from the worldly system of dead works. And it is only Jesus who truly gives life. In fact, Jesus says that He gives life and that more abundantly.

Don’t accept a religious substitute for the life giving power of knowing God through Jesus Christ. Cry out to Him for salvation, leave behind the empty life of religious servitude and receive the blessed inner-life that is reserved for all of God’s children.