True Faith in Jesus Christ Compared to Religious Rituals
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has value, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). Salvation in God’s heaven is totally based on a person’s faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To be born again by the Holy Spirit of God and to become a new creation in Jesus Christ (John 3: 16-17, 2 Corinthians 5:17); that’s what really matters. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1: 7). Religious liturgies, religious rituals and other religious acts have no power to bring a person to God’s paradise. And these religious works have no power to combat the desires of our sinful flesh (Colossians 2:23). Christians are told to do good works (Ephesians 2:10): but doing our works to be seen by others is a serious sin against God.
Religious rituals can be performed without any desire to serve the Lord. These religious works are often superficial and do not come from the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers and the ungodly can learn to practice these religious rituals with false sincerity. It’s easy to go to church and say and do all the right things, but without caring inwardly that you want to serve God. Jesus said of the Pharisees: “They like to pray standing in synagogues and on street corners to be seen by others… You are like whitewashed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside but inside are full. bones of dead and unclean men. Likewise, on the outside you seem fair to people, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness ”(Matthew 6: 5, 23: 27-28).
A lot of our accomplishments and work will go up in smoke, because a lot of what we do is due to poor motivation. Paul said that our works will be shown for what they really are, for when our works are judged, God’s righteous judgment will test the quality of everyone’s works by fire. Some Christian works will survive the ordeal of God’s fire and receive their reward. Some Christian works will be burned, but the person will be saved, but only as escaping by flames (1 Corinthians 3: 11-15). There are those who will say to God, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, and in your name, cast out demons and do many miracles? But Jesus said to them, “I never knew you. Far from Me, you criminals! (Matthew 7: 22-23).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether for good or for bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus said, “Let your light shine so brightly before men that when they see your good works they will glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We are to do our works and serve Jesus Christ in such a way that they bring glory and honor to God, and not to ourselves. Do not seek the honor of man, do not seek the praise of man; do not seek the glory of man, but seek to bring glory and honor to God and to Jesus Christ! God said, “I am the Lord, this is my name; and I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to carved images ”(Isaiah 42: 8).
If we do not have strong faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord, then we always try to work harder to become righteous in the sight of God through our own works of righteousness. In our struggle to become righteous before God through our works, we end up being self-righteous hypocrites and often try to elevate ourselves by putting others down. Complacency is always based on self-promotion and envy. If we have kept all of the Old Testament laws perfectly, then we might say, “Look at God, I have lived a perfect life! But we cannot say this because we are all born sinners, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), “For whoever keeps all the law and stumbles over one no one is guilty of having broken everything ”(James 2:10).
Jesus tells us about the Pharisee who prayed: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men – thieves, criminals, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of whatever I get. But the tax collector didn’t even look up to the sky, but hit his chest and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Then Jesus said, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, returned home justified before God. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted ”(Luke 18: 9-14).
The Bible says, “For if we judge ourselves, we will not be judged… Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (1 Corinthians 11:31, 2 Corinthians 13: 5). Jesus said, “Be careful not to do your ‘righteous acts’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Heavenly Father ”(Matthew 6: 1). If we do our works to receive the honor of others, we are acting like the religious leaders who believed in Jesus but were afraid to confess Him because they feared being kicked out of the synagogue, “For they loved the praise of men. more than the praise of God ”(John 12: 42-43).
God says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the spirit, to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10). David wrote: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is an offending way in me and lead me in the eternal way ”(Psalm 139: 23-24). “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, he whose mind is fixed upon thee, because he trusts in thee” (Isaiah 26: 3). Peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, or a life filled with struggle and anxiety.