“Religion” I: Saved from Hellfire and Religious Tradition
by Shawn Brasseaux
[22 December 2008]
I love you all. Please understand that I do not want to attack anyone.
Surely, we true Christians all acknowledge that our lost world is in desperate need of salvation from sin and its penalty eternal hellfire. But, did you realize that people need to be rescued from something else that leads to eternal hellfire: religion. “Religion” is one of God’s least favorite words: why? With religion comes another one of God’s hated words—tradition. Religion is nothing more than man trying to appease God by doing a few good works (God is not impressed by good works done to merit His favor). My plain definition of “tradition” is “something usually done wrong the first time, and from henceforth, constantly repeated as is.” Religion and its accompanying traditions have led more people to hell than anything else on the face of the planet! God does not overlook that.
The Scriptures say that lost people are slaves of the devil (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). Satan keeps them blinded so they do not know the Gospel of the Grace of God. But lost people are also slaves to religion—they just do not know it! The devil does everything he can to keep them under his thumb, and trust me, I know this to be truth. It is now going on seven weeks that the devil has hindered our newspaper ministry. Our community is so steeped in religious tradition, it is heartbreaking, and Brother Guilbeau and I are doing everything we can to get the ministry going again. People need to hear the truth, and I can promise that we will get God’s Word out to them somehow. We are still praying on how to further proceed.
Religious hierarchies (the leadership of the particular church or religion) know their members are in bondage. They keep them in their power by threatening them with intimidation and superstition, just so they can obtain their pocketbooks. If these poor people would just come into the glorious light of the Gospel of Grace by faith, the shackles of religion would just corrode. But, the devil has them secured in religion, and they have no compunction about their spiritual blindness. A large portion of my family is Roman Catholic, and we have talked to them on more than one occasion, but for the most part they refuse to listen to Scripture. The funny is that people who claim to Christians do not want to talk about the Bible and God. They may not want to listen to us speak to them, but they told me they read my letters in the newspaper! It is urgent that we get that ministry back as soon as possible.
I thank the Lord God that I am not bound in religion! I do not have to fear a religious authority. I do not have to worry about excommunication from a church. I am free, and I STAND FAST IN THE LIBERTY wherewith Christ has made us free and I am NOT entangled again with the yoke of bondage of works religion (Galatians 5:1). If you are saved today, and you know it beyond all doubt, praise the Lord and thank Him that you are not in spiritual darkness, like billions of people are tonight!
I DO NOT TAKE MY SALVATION FOR GRANTED!!! The Lord has saved me, not only from my sins and eternal hellfire, but from religious tradition! Praise God!!!!
“Religion” II: Religious, Not Necessarily Saved
by Shawn Brasseaux
[23 December 2008]
Over 90 percent of Acadiana (south-central Louisiana) is steeped in works-religion. Most of my family and friends are burdened with rituals and rules, and they are walking a tightrope instituted by men’s ideas—along with six billion other people! They are scared to commit some gross sin that will lead their excommunication from the church and their eternal condemnation in Hell. The Bible, God’s Word, is the complete and supreme Authority, not a particular church hierarchy. The Bible advises us to believe the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and receive salvation freely, or spend eternity being separated from the Lord God.
Religious people have made salvation so complicated: salvation has nothing to do with what we can do for God—salvation is what God has already done for us! Denominations and religions instruct their followers to obey a particular set of requirements, that they might have a place in heaven. Notice that these people cannot really know for certain of their salvation… even after “doing the best they can,” their church cannot guarantee their place in heaven. They are told to wait until after they die before they can know that… in reality, it is eternally too late by that point in time. How tragic!
Please, do not labor and strive to appease God for salvation: I promise you that it will not work because good works do not abolish the penalty of your sin nature. Any attempt to gain salvation by performing religious rituals will profit you nothing in eternity, which is what the Apostle Paul warned the Galatians (5:1-4). Paul briefly mentions legalism and works religion in Colossians 2:20-23 and Galatians 2:21. Of course, Christians will do good works, but this is not our focus: people are trying to become Christians by doing good works! According to God’s Word, that is very unwise and it will not work.
Acts of penance (self-torture), selling your possessions and living a frugal life for the sake of the poor, giving a large tithe, joining a dozen local churches, getting water baptized, confessing your sins, and meeting all those other religious demands in order to gain salvation are totally unnecessary for our salvation! You can follow a particular philosopher or religious leader, and still be no closer to heaven than before. Why? The Lord must regenerate your spirit, and His blood serving as atonement for your sin. Your sin must be dealt with, and only Christ’s finished work on Calvary is powerful enough to do that.
Jesus Christ even spoke of religious people in Matthew 15:9, the poor people lost and confused in performance-based church membership and works-religion: “But in vain do they worship me [empty, faithless worship], teaching doctrines the commandments of men.” The “ear-tickling” sermons and the religious doctrine appeal to the flesh and sound nice, but none of that carries any weight because there is no biblical support for any of it! It is simply men’s ideas, deceptive, confusing, and eternally detrimental to your soul.
Religion will always result in a lost eternity—and these poor religious people in our world better wake up before it is too late!
“Religion” III: God is Sick to His Stomach
by Shawn Brasseaux
[24 December 2008]
God hates religion. Religious people “go through the motions,” performing every ritual given to them. These people do not have a single ounce of faith in anything God’s Word says. If someone does not have faith in God’s Word, they are guilty of unbelief.
In Isaiah 1:10-15, the Jews were guilty of the same thing! Indeed, the Jews were keeping Temple worship, giving sacrifices, praying to God, keeping the feast days, and all the things that God demanded in the Mosaic Law. However, the Jews were faithless—it was nothing but vain, empty religious rituals! God was so disgusted with this vain empty religion that He basically told the Jews in Isaiah 1:11-15: “I am full [sick] of the burnt offerings… bring no more of your vain oblations [empty offerings]… your new moons and your appointed feast [days] my soul hates… when you [Jews] will spread forth your hands, I [God] will hide my eyes… when you make many prayers, I [God] will not hear you….” Now, you know it was bad if GOD made these statements!
Today, people are hiding behind religion and using the Christian name as a disguise. Long ago, unbelievers derogatorily referred to believers as “Christians” (mocking their “Christ-like” behavior). Christians are obviously going to reflect Christ’s standards: the name “Christian” should only be applied to those who have faith in the Gospel of the Grace of God: “how that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again for our justification” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). It stands to reason that Christians are going to uphold fundamental doctrinal positions that the Bible supports. The name “Christian” has been so distorted down through history to the point where even people who deny the deity of Christ have been called Christians! Ridiculous, I say, absolutely ridiculous! These people are lost, the people you would least expect to be unbelievers because they go by the name “Christian!”
One person estimated that 60 percent of America’s church members are lost in unbelief. I find that easy to believe, too. We have professing Christians being water baptized, joining a local church, reading the Bible, and praying daily. But they have no faith and no indwelling Holy Spirit—they only have religion!
One Catholic friend told me the reason why he loves the Roman Catholic Church so much is because they have the Eucharist—what they claim to be the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ (What blasphemy! The Lord’s Supper is merely a memorial of Christ’s finished work; the Lord’s Supper in and of itself does not impart eternal life to anyone.) God is just as prone to “throw up” today as He did with the Israelites in 700 B.C…. it is nothing but vain religious “rigmarole.” Vain imitation, and no underlying faith.
Why do most professing Christians go to church? Only out of guilt, because their pastor or priest recommends they come, and if they want to go to heaven, they must come often! People feel obligated to go to church because someone is pressuring them: in their hearts, they really do not care for God. From the biblical perspective, going to church should be something you want to do freely out of your own volition. I go to church, not because someone has forced me to go, but because I want to fellowship with other believers. The church at which I attend services plays absolutely NO role in giving me salvation: church does not save anyone! Church membership does not save anyone. Just because you go to church does not make you saved!
I mentioned before that religious people go through “hoping to maybe get to Heaven.” I know I am going to heaven. How can I be so “self-righteous,” you ask? According to Romans 3:26-31, “Christ’s righteousness”—not my own righteousness—saves me from eternal hellfire that I deserve! The Lord will always be “good enough” for me to have eternal salvation. I want to boast that the Lord Jesus Christ was good enough and He did every single thing needed to bring about my salvation. I was incapable of providing my own salvation. How wonderful that He was so gracious and so generous. Instead of meriting death and favor by working my way to heaven, I have received forgiveness from all my sin and I have a new life through Christ! That is the only reason why I can say with confidence that I will never lose my salvation. I will never be good enough for Heaven by my own deeds. There is no such thing as “the sin of presumption:” having the assurance of your salvation is not a sin! But let me be emphatically clear that you cannot provide salvation for yourself.
Are you lost in works-religion today? It may seem hopeless, but the power of God can overcome the devil and the spiritual blindness he creates. God can set you free from all the legalism, the bondage, the sin, and the eternal doom. Is that not Good News? If you are lost in works-religion today, Jesus Christ is the answer! He can provide you with eternal security in Him. You do not have to perform rituals in order to receive salvation. Salvation is a gift, being offered freely to mankind. A gift is something for which you do not work or strive. You are undeserving of a gift, and we are all undeserving of salvation! Take God’s offer of salvation by grace through faith. Trust in Christ Jesus alone and God will save you forever!