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Discovering Real Religion (5 of 17)
Series: The Epistle of James
All men have some religion. Religion is the outward expression of the inner man. Even the agnostic, who says he just doesn't know about God, is religious. His religion is that he doesn't know. He expresses that outwardly in the way he lives. The atheist is religious. The humanist is religious. Religion is the outward expression of the way a man thinks or believes in his heart. Religion is not a bad term, but it is a misunderstood term. Many Christians are very dogmatic about the fact that they are not religious, but we are all religious in one way or another. Christianity is not a religion; it is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. But how our relationship with the Lord flows out of us is our religion. Good, bad, or indifferent - that is our religion.
The word religion is very close to the term "worship" in the Bible. Paul, in making his defense before Agrippa, said, "After the strictest sect of our religion, I lived a Pharisee." (Acts 26:5) Paul was sincere in how he lived out his faith at that point. How he lived it out was his religion. Do you see it? After he was born again, he was not anymore religious than he was before, but the outward expression was different. Both expressions were religious.
There is another passage in Acts 13:43 where Paul was preaching at Antioch in Pisidia where this word "religious" appears. They were "religious proselytes," which means they were Gentiles who had become Jews. The word here is different, and it literally means worship.
In a very real sense our religion is our worship. It is how we express ourselves outwardly because of what is within us. Religion is what comes out of us.
All through the history of the Church we have tried to make our worship of the Lord in the church building just right. Often after a service we will say to ourselves, "Now that was worshipful," or if it happened to be something not to our liking, ...
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