There has been a lot of attention brought to the YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.”[i] With over 11 million views in just a few of days, people are clearly interested with the relationship between religion and Jesus. The video is very well presented and has some great points; however, I think the main point may be misguided. While Christ is indeed greater than religion, a restored religion would help us serve Him better than removing religion all together.
Here are a few thoughts…
The problem is being an uncommitted Christian; religion actually helps the Church with dedication. There is merit in noting that religion sometimes feels like a controlling identity. However, if all Christians were completely dedicated as followers of Christ, religion would actually act as a supporter and not a dictator. Common thought and united goals would represent the dedication of Christians. The early church clearly demonstrated this.[ii] Therefore, restoring religion would help us serve Jesus better.
Religious wars were political issues of man; religion actually aims to serve the Son of Man. Unfortunately, there have been numerous wars in the name of religion. In reality, those wars were the result of greed and power when both politics and religion stood side by side. The life of Jesus clearly shows that serving the Son of Man has nothing to do with political gain. His life was humble and He submitted to Roman rule.[iii] As a result, restoring religion means forgetting some of our past heretical actions, and moving forward to serve.
Jesus didn’t like faithless obedience; religion helps create a united credence. After Jesus died on the cross to pay our debt, everything changed. The covenant with Abraham and the laws of Moses are now followed in the light of Christ. It is not sufficient to merely obey the law; rather we must observe the law as we live in grace.[iv] Moreover, Jesus told us to spread the word – Salvation is found through Him![v] With a united credence, religion unifies the Church’s mission.
Jesus didn’t hate religion; He focused on changing their legalistic position. If you take legalism out of religion, you’ll be left with something extraordinary – the Church. Jesus didn’t hate like-minded believers uniting themselves together. He did, however, speak against religious people who saw themselves as a hierarchy due to their observance of the law.[vi] We’re often quick to say organized religion is problem, when in reality; our motivation is probably the source of our grief. We should be motivated by how God uses us to spread his Word. Restoring religion can help spread the gospel.
Don’t remove religion; work to restore religion.
To be religious means to be devoted.
To love Jesus means to serve Him. To serve Jesus means to be in a relationship with Him. To be in a relationship with Jesus means to be saved. To be saved means to believe Christ paid our price, and allow Him to be Lord of your life. To believe in the cross and allow Him to be your Lord means to live and spread the Word. Therefore, to be a devoted to this process we must be religious to the faith.[vii]
“Religion…is the infection,” restoring it gives positive direction.