Wrong Religion or Right Relationship
Acts 18:24-26 – Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
This Jew born in an Egyptian city with a large Jewish population knew the Old Testament or the “way of the Lord” and properly proclaimed the morality, ethics and truth of the Mosaic Law. He may have even proclaimed Messiah was coming? He was accurate in what he spoke, but limited in only knowing the baptism of John the Baptist. This was a baptism of repentance in preparation for the Messiah and wasn’t the baptism one partakes of after salvation, which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28:18-20. He was in the Synagogue, where Jews would go to hear the Old Testament scrolls read and explained and where there would be “guest speakers” at times. A Christian couple, Aquila and Priscilla heard him, took him aside as to not humiliate him and explained salvation to him and that Messiah had come. He proclaimed truth, but it was incomplete. He had religion, but no relationship with the Messiah.
The Jews of the first century had many religious practices. They would pray, give, go to Synagogue, hear God’s word explained and of course they had the sacrificial system given to them in the Mosaic Law. Yet, most did not know the One who gave them those things. How sad. Today there are numerous religions in the world. A religion could be defined as a person or group holding to a set of teachings as true. These include what they believe and various practices that are done. There are thousands in the world and they vary on their teachings and practices, but all have 1 thing in common – they are ALL based on “working your way to heaven.” Without exception, all man made religion in history is man’s faulty attempt to reach a god they have created, that they want to reach or find favor with or appease.
This is an offense to the true and living God, who provided 1 way of salvation – by His grace through faith in the promised Messiah, Jesus who died on a cross for sin, was buried and physically arose 3 days later and by faith in HIM, we can be saved. Christianity can be defined as a “religion” with its teachings and practices, but is more often described as a “relationship.” While this is true, we must remember that any relationship is based on objective, true information and knowledge about the one known. This also includes God. We cannot know Him without knowing something about Him. It’s a concept we are forgetting and we MUST remember. Every human has a relationship with God – as His enemy or as His child. Man made religion leads to eternal damnation and only knowing the truth about Jesus and putting your faith in Him to establish the right relationship with God, can you be forgiven and reconciled or brought back into a right relationship to God. Many know about Jesus, but do not know Him! The difference in mere knowledge is repentance and faith or belief in Him. Have you repented and do you believe? Do you have wrong religion or a right relationship?