Religion is Godward-directed attitude and action. It is the divine system whereby estranged humanity may be reconciled to their Heavenly Father.
It is tragic that so many people labor under the delusion that merely being “moral” represents the totality of human responsibility. It does not. Man must be correctly religious as well; morality is included in religion, but it does not exhaust it. There are numerous forms of religious evil.
First, dismissing God from one’s life is an evil common to infidels and apostates alike. In a passage addressed particularly to those on the verge of abandoning Christianity, an inspired writer warned:
[i]“Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).[i]
Observe the connection between the words we have emphasized.
Second, a refusal to accept the evidence regarding the nature of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice reflects a mentality that is evil. In chapter one of the Gospel of John, we are informed of the work of John the Baptizer, whose mission was to prepare the way for the coming Christ (John 1:6-8).
Our Lord, in this context, is symbolically portrayed as “the light” who purposed to provide illumination for this world of darkness. Later, however, the apostle declared that most men have rejected that light and loved darkness instead, the reason being, “for their works were evil.”
Again, “Every one that practices evil hates the light, and comes not to the light, lest his works should be reproved” (John 3:19-20).
Third, perversion of God’s truth concerning the divine plan of redemption is a form of religious evil. In the first century there were certain Judaizers who contended that the Gospel system alone was insufficient to save. They argued that the Mosaic regime (circumcision in particular) was a requisite to forgiveness of sins (Acts 15:1ff.).
Paul, in his epistle to the Philippians, alluded to such false teachers when he warned: “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision [a word-play on ‘circumcision’ — WJ]” (3:2).
Here is the important principle that may be deduced: any alteration (whether by addition, subtraction, or modification) of Heaven’s requirements for salvation is evil in the sight of God.In view of such passages as Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Pet. 3:21, and others, those in the current religious community who advocate the dogma of “salvation by faith alone,” i.e., without obedience, should seriously reconsider their position.
Fourth, a corruption of Jehovah’s ordered pattern of worship is a manifestation of evil. When Jeroboam assumed the role of northern Israel’s new king, he proceeded to revise the Hebrew system of worship. Golden calves were set up at Bethel and Dan, an unauthorized feast-day was instituted, and a new, non-Levitical priesthood was appointed (1 Kings 12:25ff). This novel program of worship was that which the king “had devised of his own heart” (v. 33).
More than twenty times, the inspired narrative of the Old Testament record speaks of the sins of Jeroboam “who sinned, and made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 14:16). Even though Jeroboam was rebuked by a prophet of the Lord (whose message was confirmed by a divine sign — 1 Kings 13:1-6), his “penitence” was short-lived, for, as the sacred narrative reveals, “after this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way ...” (13:33).
Any attempt to worship God apart from divine authority, regardless of one’s sincerity, is a form of evil.
Wayne Jackson, Christian Courier 3 Comments
[6/16/2018 1:51:11 AM]
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Submitted By: Skyknight