The Difference Between Living by Religion - and LIVING for CHRIST

MANKIND'S TEACHINGS vs. THE TEACHINGS OF THE LORD GOD

"You shall not add to THE WORD which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." (Deuteronomy 4:2 NKJ)

The Holy Scripture predicts ahead of time what we are seeing today. That the "Word of God" would be variously translated, misinterpreted and molded to suit the needs and purpose of the world, and not necessarily in proper accordance with what the Lord had actually intended by what is shown in "His Word".

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." (2 Peter 2:1-3 NKJ)

  • Do we truly understand the Word of God and what it reveals to us as God's will for how humanity should live together and serve the Lord?
  • Does "organized religion", or more appropriately the religious institutions that have become the model for Christianity, adhere to the principles of the "Church of the New Covenant" as it was established by the Apostles of Christ and the early church's founders?
  • Has Christianity itself fallen away from the true path of what our faith and the Word of God actually profess?
  • Are our religious leaders conforming to the standards set forth by the Word of God?
  • Do Christians today live the lifestyle and fit the role model that was taught by Jesus Christ?

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What would JESUS say?

"Sermon on the Mount" by Carl Heinrich Bloch (18341890)
"Sermon on the Mount" by Carl Heinrich Bloch (18341890)

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The GREAT APOSTASY - 1 Timothy 4 (NIV)

1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

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What would JESUS do today?

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:16-17)

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LIVING BY RELIGION vs. LIVING FOR CHRIST

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RELIGION IS... Believing that a God probably does exist but keep this personal belief to yourself.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God does exist and we openly reflect this belief in public. (Proverbs 30:8-10; Luke 22:61; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:3-4)

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RELIGION IS... Believing that a "supreme being" is out there somewhere, watching whatever we do from afar.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God is present in our lives and that we can have a personal relationship directly with Him. (Romans 7:4; Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:18-20; Philippians 2:1; Philippians 4:21; 1 John 1:7)

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RELIGION IS...Believing that God does exist in some capacity as the creator of the universe we live in, but that our destiny and fate are a result of our own actions.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God, the creator of ALL things, does exist and sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross, thus providing a way that we could all receive salvation through Him. (Genesis 1:1-8; Job 38:4-12; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 2:13-16; 1 John 2:2)

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RELIGION IS... Going to church once a week because we feel we are obligated to do so.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Going to church at every opportunity, because we fell we can never have too much quality time spent with the Lord God at His sanctuary. (Exodus 25:8; 1 Kings 9:3; Psalm 100:4; Isaiah 56:6-8; Jeremiah 33:11)

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RELIGION IS... Going to church once a week because we like to get together with other "like-minded" people.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Going to church for joyful worship of God because we enjoy the opportunity to glorify and praise Him in the congregation of others. (Psalm 26:12; Psalm 68:25-27; Psalm 149:1; Hebrews 10:23-25)

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RELIGION IS... Singing along in church because everyone else also seems to be singing.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Singing along in church because you thoroughly enjoy praising and worshiping your Lord God. (Psalm 98:4-6; Psalm 100:1-2; Psalm 138:1-3)

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RELIGION IS... Believing that God does exist but you only discuss the details of your faith more openly around other "believers".

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God does exist and feeling joyfully compelled by Him to spread the "good news" about Jesus Christ and fulfill His "Great Commission". (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-17)

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RELIGION IS... Believing only in the philosophy taught by our specific church leaders or brand of faith and relying on their teachings absolutely without question.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that the Holy Bible (Old & New Testaments) is the inspired "Word of God", while learning to properly understand it more thoroughly as we support our church leaders with respect as being held accountable by these same principles. (1 Corinthians 9:13-14; Galatians 6:6; 2 Timothy 3:16)

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RELIGION IS... Praying to God for help when we are in trouble and/or need something.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Praying to God to thank Him for being in our lives and to ask for His mercy, grace and blessings in the lives of others as well as ourselves. (1 Kings 8:41-43; Psalm 122:5-9; Isaiah 37:4; Jeremiah 29:7; Jeremiah 42:4; Matthew 6:5-8; Romans 1:8-10; Ephesians 1:16-19)

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RELIGION IS... Believing that God loves His people.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God loves EVERYONE and by the example of Christ, we share His love with others. (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 John 4:12)

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RELIGION IS... Disapproving of another's actions that are contrary to our own.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Not condemning the actions of others, accepting the sinner but denouncing their sin, while we lead by Christ's example in hopes that we may be an effective witness to them. (Leviticus 19:15; Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; John 12:47-48; Acts 1:8; Acts 22:15; Romans 3:9-20; 1 Corinthians 4:2-4; James 2:3-5; James 4:11)

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RELIGION IS... Learning to solve our problems and then helping others to solve theirs.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Placing others' cares before our own and helping them in whatever capacity is needed. (Matthew 25:35-36,40; Luke 16:10; Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Peter 3:8)

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RELIGION IS... Volunteering to help in the ministry or charity because we are asked by our Pastor or ministry group leaders.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Volunteering to help in the ministry or charity because we enjoy being of good service to others. (Matthew 6:1-4; Matthew 25:26; Matthew 25:40; 2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

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RELIGION IS... Caring for the needs of others when we have the extra time and resources to be able to do so.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Caring for the needs of others, even when we may have lack in our own lives, because we know that the Lord God will provide for our own needs as necessary. (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 6:38; Luke 21:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 2 Corinthians 8:11-18; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11)

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RELIGION IS...Being always friendly and loving towards our family, our friends and our most valued and favorite associations.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Loving and caring for everyone, especially our least favorites and to even have compassion and pray for those who perform wrongs against us. (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:25; 1 John 4:7; 1 Peter 3:8; 1 Peter 1:22)

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RELIGION IS... Being charitable, merciful and forgiving towards our freinds and fellow believers in our faith.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Being charitable, merciful and forgiving towards all people including our enemies. (Matthew 6:14; Luke 6:36; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 3:13)

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RELIGION IS... Acting the same way at home (behind closed doors) as we would at church.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Acting the same way in public as we would behind closed doors in private. (John 7:4; Galatians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 4:2)

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RELIGION IS... Setting a good example because it is the right thing to do.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Setting a good example because we righteously serve the Lord God. (Malachi 3:18; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 25:21-23; Philippians 2:5; 2 Timothy 1:9)

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RELIGION IS... Performing good works because we wish to be fully blessed in this life.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Performing good works in this life for we would rather have treasures in Heaven. (Matthew 6:4; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 25:34; Luke 6:20-23; Colossians 3:23-25; 1 Peter 5:4-7)

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RELIGION IS... Performing good works because we wish to guarantee our acceptance into Heaven.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Performing good works unconsciously as fruits of the Holy Spirit without the desire or need of reward. (Galatians 5:13-26; Ephesians 6:7-8; Titus 3:4-6)

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RELIGION IS... Believing that a God will punish us when we do "bad things".

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Believing that God loves us in spite of our imperfections or sin, and that God sent His son to save us all, so that no one should have to suffer judgment or eternal death. (Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:18; John 3:16; John 5:24; John 12:47; 1 Timothy 2:3-5)

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RELIGION IS... Knowing that we are a Christian because we faithfully believe in the doctrine of our faith as taught by the Christian church.

LIVING FOR CHRIST IS... Knowing that we are a Christian because we are saved by the Lord's grace alone, while we try our best to act as Jesus Christ would and to live by His example.

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"For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:25 NKJ)

...By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will." (Numbers 16:28 NKJ)
...By this you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will." (Numbers 16:28 NKJ)

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BACK to the BASICS

"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps." (1 Peter 2:21 NKJ)

As we were pointing out above, this is the biggest problem in the church and the "Body of Christ" today. As a result of the various translations and interpretations of the Holy Scripture, the message of the "Word of God" has become somewhat skewed. In addition to this, many of the splinter groups, divisions, or different denominations collectively within the Christian faith, have gradually departed from the original basis of the "Word in God". This has happened because of the need to suit a specific group's selective beliefs or practices, having occurred slowly over time and relatively unnoticed by the congregations at large.

"...Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:20-21 NKJ)

We have come full circle to the exact same issues and difficulties that were experienced by the early followers of Christ's teachings. As the Christian faith was speading and being established by the original disciples beyond Judaea, the new churches began to debate the meaning of the word and what was being taught as correct doctrine and practices. They had to be corrected then - AND THEY NEED TO BE CORRECTED NOW!

"Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. (Jeremiah 2:19 NIV)

We therefore challenge you to return to the "grass roots" of your faith, the foundation of all things from the beginning of time, where all that existed was the "Word of God".

"In the beginning was THE WORD, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD." (John 1:1 KJV)

Thoroughly examine what the Lord has spoken for us all to observe, through what is written in the Holy Scriptures, in the hope and through His promise that we may one day return to Him in everlasting life!

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 KJV)

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:9 KJV)

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9 KJV)

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that HEARETH MY WORD, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John 5:24 KJV)

Jesus Christ tells us: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-20 NIV)

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*** HELP ADD TO THE LIST ***

We will be expanding the ABOVE LIST to include more examples of:

RELIGION IS... vs. LIVING FOR CHRIST IS...

Make your suggestions below under [ COMMENTS ] if you are interested in contributing - EXAMPLES MUST ALSO INCLUDE SCRIPTURE REFERENCES TO BE CONSIDERED.

We will select the better examples and periodically update the article - Thank You

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COMMENTS - Tell Us What YOU Think (^VOTE Above^) 4 comments

sassyk73 profile image

sassyk73 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

Great Hub very well written. I will have to read this over :) A lot of useful information. You will definitely receive a Vote Up from me.


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

@sassyk - Thanks for being the first one to stop by and visit. Likewise appreciate the comments and vote - Hope you enjoy the further read. With blessings... Rev.Ted


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 5 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

Excellent I really like the "religion" aspect compared to worshipping God


christ4ever profile image

christ4ever 5 years ago from a life in sin saved by the Lord's grace - we are blessed with the ministry in Florida & Georgia Author

Hail Michael - Thanks for coming by and sharing. May we all live by Christ's example. Be blessed always.. Rev.Ted

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