I’m a preacher, and I hate religion! That’s right. I said it. Why? Religion portrays the image of what it defines as godliness but has no power to back it up. It thrives on the concept of attaining right standing with God through our works while downplaying what Jesus has done for us. Unfortunately, religion has caused many people to actually turn away from God and the promises contained in the Bible. A concentration on religion has been responsible for death, destruction, and strife among people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. It is why denominations cannot get along, and it is what provokes extremists to carry out suicide missions in the name of God. Religion is the counterfeit of having a real relationship with the Lord.
Now, let me make another bold statement: God hates religion too! Jesus used every opportunity to blast the religious leaders of His day for carrying out vain traditions that meant nothing. Just read Matthew Chapter 23, where Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for saying one thing but doing another and for following blindly after rituals and Law-based traditions done only to make them look good. Religion is made up of man’s ideas, interpretations, and prejudices based on selfish desires, attempts to control others, and a stubborn determination to be right. Where is God in that? Religion completely takes God out of the equation and replaces Him with the god of “self” in the form of self-effort, self-righteousness, and self-gratification. True Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with Christ. Now, that I love!
Now, more than ever before, people need to hear the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a message of hope, not condemnation; liberty, not religious bondage; grace, not self-reliance. Most of the things we have grown up hearing about God are completely incorrect! We have come to relate to God as an angry taskmaster who is waiting for us to mess up so He can strike us down with a lightning bolt. We have gotten so far away from what Christianity is really about and have presented a picture of God that actually turns people away from wanting to know Him. It is time for us to get back to the simplicity of the Gospel and share the truth about the love and grace of God with the world.