Religious Christians Vs Righteous Christians ~ PART 1
Did you know that there is a big difference between being religious and being righteous?
Well, that is what I'll open your eyes to in this article. So stay with me.
Religious Christians are not righteous, and righteous Christians are not religious. What is the difference? The Pharisees and the Sadducees of the Bible were religious, but not righteous. They were strict in observing the rules and regulations handed down to them by Moses, yet they were not righteous in the sight of God.
Who then is a righteous Christian? The Christian who has completely laid down his self-righteousness and taken upon him the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus as the Son of God and as His Saviour, just as apostle Paul did in Philippians 3:9: "I no longer have a righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the Law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith."
This was what the Pharisees and the Sadducees failed to do. They refused to relinquish their self-righteousness and receive the righteousness of God by accepting Jesus.
So the Bible tells religious Christians who're still trusting in their self-righteousness to enter heaven "unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20
Religious Christians believe in doing good deeds (helping the poor, giving to needy, going to church, giving tithes and offerings, fasting and praying...) to qualify to enter the kingdom of heaven. They believe Jesus is the Son of God, but Jesus is not the Ruler of their lives, nor their Master, Saviour and Lord. They acknowledge Him as the Son of God, but do not acknowledge Him as their Lord and Saviour. They do not submit to Him neither does His words, commands and instructions mean much to them.
How to identify religious Christians and find out if you're yet to leave their group:
- They are not born again by the Holy Spirit.
- They still live in sin openly and have no desire to live a holy life: they give and take bribe, they lie, cheat, defraud, fornicate, engage in adultery, watch porn with pleasure and masturbate without guilt; they drink alcohol, go clubbing and night parties. Wear indecent clothes that expose alluring parts of their body even to church; they engage in abortion; they sell alcoholic beverages to perishing souls, yet they claim to be children of God.
- Their profiles on social media would usually say things like "I am an ambassador of Christ. I am God's first daughter. I am a lover of God. Jesus is my Lord." Yet the content of their page says something contrary with nudity, profanity, worldliness, vulgarity, and vanities spread across their social media platforms.
- They observe the rules and regulations of their local assembly and respect their pastor, reverend father, priest,... but do not have respect for God - they are not careful to observe and obey all the commandments of God.
- They give tithes, offerings, sponsor church projects, and sow seeds to bribe God to overlook their sinful lifestyle and bless them on earth and also welcome them into heaven when they die.
- They indulge in secret sins: Secretly consume alcohol, smoke cigarette/hard drugs, engage in prostitution, engage in fornication, adultery, abortion; cohabit with who they're not married to, take and receive bribes, steal, slander, gossip, murder, hate, envy...
- They go to church and attend almost all the programmes of their church because they want to please their reverend father, priest, or pastor; impress the brethren at church and look 'holy' to their neighbors and friends.
- They look holy: Some dress decent and do not wear makeup or plait their hair. The men would dress in a 'holy' way. But they're pretenders and hypocrites because they're not who they publicly portray themselves to be in secret.
- They don't care about preaching the gospel or winning souls for Christ. They may attend evangelism programmes of their church, but it is just to fulfil all righteousness and to impress people.
- They do not believe in Matthew 6:33. So they run after money and are willing to do anything (illegal, immoral, diabolic) to get it. In fact, they serve money. They worship money. They live to make money. Their purpose for living is just to make money and enjoy life.
- They do not read the Bible. When they do, it is just to be able to brag that they read the Bible or to be able to quote a few scriptures. They do not understand when they read the Bible and actually do not believe the word of God. The percentage that do read the Bible as daily ritual, do not obey the teachings of the Bible, while some cherrypick the commands that are convenient for them and reject the commands they think do not benefit them or restrains them unnecessarily.
- They do not have the Holy Spirit because they're not born again. This is why it is difficult and impossible for them to live holy lives free from sin no matter how hard they try or desire to.
- They cannot hear from God. Only those who are born again have real connection to God, know the voice of God, and can recognize the voice of God. They're the only ones who have the privilege of hearing from God and communing with God.
- They cannot receive answers to their prayers when they pray to God because they do not qualify to speak with God due to the sin nature they still possess. This is why many of them are prayer beggars - soliciting for prayers here and there, because they cannot pray to God and receive answers. "We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do." John 9:31
- They run after miracles, signs and wonders, and after false prophets, teachers, priests, and pastors that will comfort them in their sinful practices with "sugar-coated sermons" and not rebuke their sinful lifestyle.
- They patronize witch doctors. They see nothing wrong in combing christianity with charms or help from demonic sources. They run their lives based on the report of horoscopes and what zodiac signs has said about their personality.
- They know about Jesus, but they do not know Jesus and do not have a real personal relationship with Him. They know about the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, but they do not really understand its significance and real meaning.
- They see nothing wrong in watching obscene movies, vulgar comedies and listening to both Christian and secular corrupt music because to them, all are harmless songs sung by their fellow human beings, and it is to be enjoyed; everything mustn't be about glorifying God, according to them. But 1 Corinthians 10:31 warns "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God's glory."
- They are sinners, because they are not born again. They are not children of God. You must first be born again before you can become a child of God. "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
No one is first born a child of God. You have to be born again the second time by the Holy Spirit to become a child of God.
"So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God." 1 John 3:10
- They doubt the existence of hell, but believe the existence of heaven. They believe that a loving God cannot send people to hell - that everyone will eventually go to heaven because God is merciful. But this is not what the Bible teaches, neither is it what God Himself has said.
- They doubt the reality of the rapture and do not really care if Jesus is coming back or not. So, they live anyhow they want. The group that believes in the rapture believe that Jesus is not coming back anytime soon.
-They do not fast and pray. Some who do, do so to try to cajole God to grant their selfish and carnal desires (desire to have money, nice car, big house, fashionable clothes, luxurious handbags...) Others fast to show off and brag.
- They TALK TO God in prayer (asking for his blessings) and do not TALK WITH God in prayer - desiring to know God's will and what God will have them do on earth for the advancement of His kingdom.
- They are not after the heartbeat of God (the winning of lost souls), but after the good things God offers to His worshippers. They just want to use God to satisfy their sensual and carnal needs.
- They live for now. Their heart is set on making it big on earth and having all the money in the world. And not on fulfilling the purpose for which God created them and being a blessing to humanity.
These are some of the characteristics of religious Christians. It is sad that we have more religious Christians globally than we have righteous Christians, because in the end, only righteous Christians will be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Are you still in the company of religious Christians? I implore you to repent today and be born again.
Next week, we'll look at the characteristics of righteous Christians. Come back on this blog next week Monday and let's examine the lifestyle of this category of Christians that are candidates of heaven. God bless you.