Gospel Freedom (2)

SELF-SANCTIFYING RELIGIOSITY

The problem with men satisfying their religious yearnings is that most people do not seek the one true and living God through His inspired revelation. They seek to create a god after their own image and a religion after their own desires.   In order to fulfill their innate desire to search for and worship a being that is higher than themselves, people throughout the world have resorted to various “systems” of religiosity in order to self-sanctify themselves before their gods. In the absence of God’s word, and a knowledge of the one true God, religious people throughout the world have created self-sanctifying religious rites after their own desires.

Regardless of the system of religion that one might create in order to fulfill the desire to worship, all religions of the world fall into two basic categories. The first is that people follow after their emotions or feelings. Man is certainly an emotional being. Those religions of the world that are based on emotions as the fundamental foundation of the religion, are carried to and fro by the emotional state of the adherents in order to self-sanctify themselves emotionally before God. The adherents say, “If it feels right, then it must be right.” Such self-sanctification in religion places man at the center of the religion and his emotions as the authority upon which faith is based. Such religions are basically humanistic in the sense that man himself is the foundation upon which the religion is based.

Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death” (Pv 14:12; see Pv 16:25). It is not within the power of man to direct his own self-sanctifying religious behavior. This is especially true in reference to one’s religious feelings and beliefs. When the foundation of one’s religiosity is based on his own feelings, the end result will be death.   Therefore, we can never trust our feelings to be the final authority by which we should judge faith to be on a solid foundation.

The second system of religion that is established by man is the most common, and thus, the most difficult for the gospel to penetrate. This is religion that is based on the traditional religious institutions of men. Most world religions that have been developed throughout the history of mankind have found their foundation in tradition. This was particularly true during the time Jesus came into the world (See Mk 7:1-9).

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