I'm reminded that the English word religion comes from the Latin Re & Ligare....Re is an emphatic and ligare means "to bind"...hence religion means "to bind tightly".
Religion, i.e. Christian religion, is a system which binds God's people to a set of 'doctrines" (hence Christianity is believing the right things).....a set of moral and ethical principles of conduct (doing the right thing)… a sense of belonging to the right ‘church or denomination” (joining the right thing)…or to a set of prescribed religious activities or obligations (e.g. church attendance, prayer, quite time, tithing, prescribed worship, acts of charity and or other religious activities referred to commonly as "works").
For many, religious faith rests upon a foundation do’s and don’ts (formerly called thou shalts and thou shalt nots)!
Religion can also be described as the attempt of the natural man to imitate the things of God or to curry, deserve, or earn God's favor and acceptance through proper beliefs, actions and/or behaviors. Religion provides a scaffold - a skeletal structure – a way of life - but NOT LIFE itself. Often religion appeals to our desire for acceptance by other ‘believers”. One great benefit is a sense of identity that results from belonging to a special group, denomination, class or faith community. Within the context of religion, spiritual maturity is often demonstrated by the mastery of religious speech, theological concepts or the mastery of “spiritual” language often called ‘God talk”.
In many circles spiritual maturity is demonstrated by what you know not who you know!
Re-ligion is all about legalism and performance – praise and reproof - the carrot and the stick – reward and punishment. It is rooted in the tree of knowledge of good and evil but not the tree of life. Like the Matrix, religion is a system governed by rules. True Christianity, on the other hand, is life animated energized and governed by love.
Jesus did NOT come to establish a new religion to replace or improve upon Judiasm or Paganism. He came that we might have life...eternal life...spiritual life...abundant life - the life of God. He came so that our dead selves might be redeemed, resurrected and raised to walk in newness of life. Halelleujah!!! Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law (sin and death) and cleanse us so that our mortal bodies might become more than houses for our soul but elevated to become temples of the Holy Spirit! No more religion, no more covenant based upon obedience to law or righteousness derived from human performance, but LIFE – eternal life which is only in His son. No longer is it about us keeping the law but HIM KEEPING US!”
As the scriptures attest:
“He who has the Son has the life...he who has not the Son has not the life!”
As He declared, “I am the way the truth and the life…”
When I look upon the state of the church and our contemporary religious system I say to myself, “O Lord can these bones live???? “
And the Spirit says, “Prophesy !!!” And so I am reminded of the word of the Lord to the prophet Ezekiel.
"Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know." Again He said to me,
"Prophesy over these bones and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.'
"Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 'I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will (I)know that I am the LORD.'"
“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. “
Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life."
“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.!”
Today, in my spirit I hear a sound - a rattling of bones coming together and I’m filled with the expectation that perhaps I may yet live long enough to see the raising up of that great army of the Lord.