It is a very common knowledge among people internationally that religion is the church where they belong to.When you pose the question: “What is your religion? Somebody readily answers: “I am a Catholic, or a Baptist, or a Seventh Day Adventist, etc.
Even when signing a legal or public document, people write down at the space provided for religion their ‘organized sect’ or religion.So, it has been accepted internationally that the religion of somebody is the church where he is affiliated to.
The word religion in the Bible is ‘thrēskeia’ in the Greek Bible.Incidentally, the reason why we are citing Greek is because it was the language used by the New Testament writers like Paul and Luke who used the word ‘thrēskeia’, which was translated as religion in the English and Spanish Bible; And in the Bible, there is such thing as pure and undefiled ‘thrēskeia’ or religion.
(James 1:27) “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.”
The apostle Paul made mention of his former affiliation with the religion or ‘thrēskeia’ of the Jews before he became a Christian.
(Galatians 1:13)“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it…”
He used the word ‘thrēskeia’ to denote the organized religion of the Jews and their practices.He explained this on the following verse (verse 14).
(Galatians 1:14)“And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
If we look in the Greek dictionary of New Testament terms, the word ‘‘thrēskeia’or religion means:
From a derivative of G2357; ceremonial observance: – religion, worshipping. (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries)
So, the Greek word means that religion is ceremonial observance of something related to worship.Is religion vital to salvation?Here is our answer:
Whether you regard religion as the organization you belong to or as a ceremonial observance in worship, we believe that it is very vital to salvation!Your ‘organized religion’ or organization has a vital influence in your thinking, character, priorities, and beliefs.There are people who kill because their religion allows them, if not teaching them, to kill.Some, like the Mormons allows polygamous relationships; meaning having more than one wife.In their book called Doctrines and Covenants, they have this to say:
You can have ten wives according to Mormon doctrines.Religion influences the kind of family or life that you will live for the rest of your life.Religion also influences human societies and cultures — what they will eat and drink or not, what they should wear, the kind of profession they would prefer, and even the kind of government they are going to impose on people.Some organized religions teach their members to even overthrow the government of a land which does not favor their faith.Some even institute violent acts resulting in mass murders and killings.Analyzing the way religion influences the character of a person or a sector of society implies that religion is very vital to salvation.If you have fallen victim to ‘blind’ religious leaders, and have followed ‘blindly’ their erroneous concept of worship, you will not be saved!
(Matthew 15:14)“Let them alone:they be blind leaders of the blind.And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
Following man’s thoughts, ideas, and teachings will make your worship or religion vain, and you will not be saved.
(Mark 7:7-8)“Howbeit in vain do they worship me,teachingfor doctrines the commandments of men.For laying aside the commandment of God,ye hold the tradition of men,as the washing of pots and cups:and many other such like things ye do.”
Even if at the outlook, some religious practices may seem to be pious or holy but, if they are not God’s law, it is futile.
(Colossians 2:23)“Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their selfimposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” NIV
If these things happen to anybody, I am sorry to say that there is no salvation the he or she can hope for.
(Romans 10:3)“Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” NIV
If in case anybody will say that salvation does not depend on your religious affiliation but in your ‘personal relationship’ to God or to Christ, the Bible has this to say:
(Romans 12:9)“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” KJV
The group that you cling to or cleave to is a great factor to salvation.The Bible tells us God’s teachings to know which group we must affiliate ourselves.
(1 John 1:3-4)“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
To have fellowship with the Father and the Son you must have fellowship with the right group of people like the apostles!If you are going to associate yourself to a group of murderers and fanatics, you certainly will not be saved.
(Romans 16:17-18)“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
We are commanded by God to disassociate ourselves to such kind of people or group, especially to idol worshippers.
(2 Corinthians 6:17)“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
If, in any case, somebody will say that he or she wants to be alone and do not have any ‘religion’, will he or she be saved?Remember that religion means worship.Anybody who says that he or she does not want to worship God will not be saved!
The Bible teaches us of a ‘Church’ — a ‘True Church’.The Church is a divine institution established by God through Christ.It is the ‘body’ whose ‘head’ is Christ Himself.
(Colossians 1:18)“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
We are ordained by God to be parts of such body or Church by accepting the gospel.
(Ephesians 3:6)“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel…”
That Church is the Church of God!
(2 Corinthians 1:1)“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia…”
In the Church of God, the apostles teach the pure and undefiled religion or worship.
(James 1:27)“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.”
All the apostles teach in the Church of God, so it is in the Church that true religion, pure and undefiled, is being practiced.
(1 Corinthians 12:28)“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
Anybody who will reject the Church of the Bible, like most of the Born Again movements who call themselves ‘fellowships’, ‘ministries’, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who call themselves ‘witnesses’ instead of church, and avoid the use of the word ‘church’ which came from the mouth of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, are blatant anti-Christ![digg=http://digg.com/videos/people/The_Vitality_of_Religion_to_Salvation]
I hope this article will answer some of the most important questions and discussions about religion.