A recent post on another blog posed some interesting questions which I was compelled to address. A copy of the original post is pasted below, along with an attempt at providing a suitable answer.
[What Religion is God?]
- We all know that Jesus taught in the Jewish temple but what exactly is His religion?
- We also know from scripture that He is “not” Catholic.
- Is He… Baptist? Mormon? Jehovah Witness? Seventh-Day Adventist? Methodist? Anglican? Buddhist?
- Are there any Scriptures that define what religion God is?
- Is Religion man-made or God made?
- Why does mankind need religion anyway?
In the strictest of definitions equally understood and agreed to by a universal non-sectarian application of the English language, “RELIGION’ = “the belief in, and/or worship of a supernatural controlling being or power – especially an intimate God or lesser gods”.
‘Mono-theists’ believe in ONLY ONE ALMIGHTY CREATOR TRUE GOD. ‘Poly-theists’ believe in many lesser gods, assigning distinct, but limited powers, to several unequal deities – thereby forming the primary basis upon which ‘religions’ disagree.
When such applications become PERSONAL, they may adhere more strongly to the general convictions of a particular organized system of such worship & beliefs – or NOT. Many personal relationships with God are based upon an individual’s firsthand experiential encounter with God. Where again, such may or may not conform to any or some pre-existing dogma.
To address the more specific questions about the religion of Jesus, a distinction between Christ’s Deity and humanity must be properly discerned (which immediately creates ‘religious’ differences). Depending upon one’s personal convictions relative to their accepted doctrine, the truth may remain evasive.
However, the Historical figure of Christ – the actual individual who lived, ministered, and was crucified in Jerusalem 2000+ years ago – was a Jew and lived according to the Jewish religion of that time. Judaism has changed substantially since then, debate over the proper identity of Christ and the validity of His Resurrection being chiefly responsible. Even within the ranks of many subsequent forms of religion that claim affiliation with Christ, His proper identity and actual ramifications of the resurrection continue to cause conflict.
Stating that Jesus is not Catholic is true only in the sense that neither is He exclusively any of the other religions/denominations/sects cited above. Some of all those particular doctrines agree (in part) with Scripture’s teachings and Christ’s own declarations. But NONE of them solely form, nor are independently the epitome of ‘stand-alone’ sound doctrine. Each individual must take responsibility to apply due diligence to researching doctrines, comparing them to valid copies of Scripture, under an anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit to rightly comprehend any so-called ‘true religion’.
But even such an extensive exercise may produce merely clarity about WHAT to believe; the ultimate goal is to KNOW WHO to believe. TRUTH is much more than a philosophy – Scripture reveals that TRUTH is a PERSON, Jesus Christ
“Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” Jn. 14:6.
As to the question – “Are there any Scriptures that define what religion God is?” Jesus Christ answered,
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” – Jn. 5:59.
Accordingly, scholars of theology have long determined that the total sum of ALL Scripture reveals the ultimate & cumulative manifestation and purpose of true God is Jesus Christ. Consideration of all the facts regarding ‘religion’ is that it is ‘man-made’ but likely inspired by God to bring man to a discovery of truth by empirical evaluation of the various contradictions within all religions. But this does NOT mean that ALL religions are inspired by God – some are indeed called ‘doctrines of demons’ by Scripture.
Therefore, it is necessary to have a proper comprehension of priorities regarding spiritual realities. It must be acknowledged that many wrongly approach matters pertaining to God by placing the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’. Thinking religion leads to God is backwards. Conversely, a personal encounter with God enlightens one to the true tenets of religion. Apart from a vital personal relationship with God, religion is pointless.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” – Jn. 15:5.
Scripture declares that the things pertaining to God are ‘spiritual’ and as such require true ‘spiritual discernment’ to rightly understand. This discernment comes ONLY through the Holy Spirit, to whom ONLY those who receive Him are enabled.
“But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” – 1Cor. 2:14.
“The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” – Jn. 14:17.
“By this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” – 1Jn. 3:24.
“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is NOT His” – Ro. 8:9.
By such enabling of the Spirit of God each man is individually responsible to determine for himself that which is true, opposed to that which is false. God’s challenge to all men regarding religion is recorded in Scripture thusly:
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” – Duet. 30:19.
So, in conclusion, the important question should not really be “What religion is God?” (for God is NOT a religion), but instead – “What religion fully agrees with God’s revelation to mankind?” The choice remains yours.