Faith and Works#7. “Religion that works.”

Faith and Works#7. “Religion that works.”

My first experience with Chinese Whispers was in primary school. The experiment went exactly as predicted. The initial three-sentence message whispered into the first student’s ear (about the teacher’s trip to the shop to buy groceries), after being passed from student to student, was reduced to a few literally unintelligible sounds. Gary Taylor, in a recent sermon, suggested that God’s word is passed around in like manner. But making things worse, the false teachers “add their own spin to the Gospel;” leaving their religion, when compared to the original, literally unintelligible.

Do people accept religious teaching that amounts to “gibberish?” You know they do. Don’t just take my word that denominations are preaching a distorted Gospel, go online and listen for yourself; it’s worse than you think.

James says, “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (Jm.1:26).

The worth of our religion is judged by its works. Our actions serve as a massive magnifying glass through which we invite the world to investigate our hearts. As Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

But lest our eyes are fixed on those beyond the churches of Christ, we are wise to heed our brother Peter’s words: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1Pet.4:17). Paul would add, for those of us who think we have made it, “For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends” (2Cor.10:18).

James is defining in practical terms that which God commends…
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jm.1:27).

His message to one and all is simple: Religion that works is religion that works!

John Staiger

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