The incessant parade of counterfeit ways to be right with God and soothe the conscience never ceases to amaze me. Quit your sins. Be baptized. Baptize the babies. Go to church. Join a church. Be a good person. Be sincere. Be zealous. Work hard. Sacrifice yourself. Crawl on your bare knees over rocks to a holy shrine. Give lots of money. Pray The Sinner’s Prayer. And now the wave is, you don’t need a church or a particular religion; just be spiritual.
No need for a church or any formal religion or religious activities. In fact, “We don’t like religion. We don’t need it. We have our own spirituality.” On its Today show, NBC recently aired a series legitimizing this kind of thinking. I’ve heard it for years, “God and I have an understanding. I don’t believe in organized religion. I don’t need a church. I have my own arrangement with God.”
I’m reminded of one of Israel’s lowest points: a time of lawlessness, violence and utter chaos. The prevailing idea of the day is summed up in Judges 21:6. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Sounds like today; every man insists on being his own spiritual authority. “No church, no preacher, no Bible is going to tell me what to do. That’s between me and God.”
The fact is that had not God told us, not one of us would know what He thinks, what is right or wrong or what it takes to be right with Him. If He hadn’t told us, it would be any man’s guess and no man’s opinion would be any better than any others. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33. But, He has told us. Talk about presumptuous and egotistical, to bypass and ignore the Bible where God has clearly stated who He is and what it takes to be right with Him and in turn substitute your own ideas about Him exalts folly!
Thank God for a free country where any person can believe anything he chooses even when he is blatantly wrong, but do not forget that believing something doesn’t make it right even when you are passionate and sincere. God is the author of and final authority on truth: who He is, what is right and wrong, what is takes to be right with Him. It is pretty obvious that people all over the world have their own ideas about God, and the general consensus is that it really doesn’t matter what you believe, even if you don’t believe there is a God. Just be deeply spiritual. That’s the only thing that really counts, and in the end it will all work out.
God said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Proverbs 14:12. It’s not up to each person to come up with his own scheme about God, to write his own code about what spirituality is and how to be right. To be right you have to think God’s way and do things His way; and it is in the Bible that He tells humanity who He is, how he thinks and how to do things right.
All concepts out of step with His will ultimately fail. Sadly all who embrace concepts which are not founded in the Scriptures are doomed to perish with their homemade concepts. It takes more than a baptism, a church membership, a parade of good works, a prayer and being spiritual to be right with God. No one is right with God who has not had a personal meeting with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, God is the author of organized religion. Yes. According to Him, every person who personally meets Christ should give his life to serving Christ in one of His churches. No one who fails to do that is right with God.