2/27/2013 11:46:32 AM
What is the Attraction of Religion?
The attraction and loyalty to religion is that it appeals to the flesh. Religious rituals can be performed, assessed, praised, and seen before others.
Roman Catholicism offers a vast array of rituals that many are drawn to in their attempt to satisfy their flesh. One can both worship and receive Christ in the physical communion, they can participate in the other sacraments which are administered by priests, they can light candles, give offerings, pray before statues or while counting beads on a rosary, and they can do good works before others which are promised to merit their salvation. Such a person might feel really good about themselves by being a part of so many religious practices and being well regarded by others in the community for all that they observe them partaking in.
In Jesus' earthly ministry we see however that He spoke the harshest to the religious leaders whose lives were full of religious knowledge and practice and as a result thought of themselves as in good standing before God. In contrast, Jesus was open and accessible to the sinners who recognized they had nothing to offer God. For this reason many sinners, shunned by religious communities, humbly approached Jesus recognizing who He was and the forgiveness that could be found in Him. To illustrate this Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18:10-14 of a contrast between two men, one who trusted in his religious righteousness and the other who humbly recognized his need before God as a sinner.
The religiously proud must repent of trusting in religion and their physical practices to save them. Believers are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) and remember that things that are seen are transient but things that are unseen are eternal (2 Cor 4:18). Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1). The religious person's only hope of salvation is to forsake all that they are trusting in and trust solely in what Christ has accomplished for them on the cross, received by faith (Eph 2:8-9).