A Religion with Power - Day 25

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.

II Timothy 3:1-5, RSV


Wow! Can there be a passage of Scripture that more accurately describes the times in which we live? I look around at this world at times and am bewildered. How can people live in such a way as they do today? How can there be so much turmoil, so much hatred and enmity, so much downright wickedness? The answer is in the last verse of this passage: It is because people have a form of religion, but they deny it's power. Our religion must not be like that. Consider the inspired words of Paul when writing to the Christians in Rome:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith

Romans 1:16, RSV


Do you see it? This Word of God that we are reading within the New Testament, this Gospel, is the power of salvation for everyone who has faith. We do live in a mean old world, but what can we do about it? Well, nothing on our own, but if we will actually walk the walk of faith, as opposed to merely talking about it, then the power of God will rescue us from the evil that seems to multiply on a daily basis.


The religion that we read about in the New Testament is powerful, not weak. But it is only the religion of the New Testament if we will live it! This is why so many people in our modern times seem to have such a disdain for religion. It's because there are so many weak and hypocritical "Christians" who live just like the world is living. They seem to prefer the kingdom of the evil one over the kingdom of God. They speak a form of religion with their lips, but with their actions they deny its power.


We live in perilous times. From our government to our places of employment to our schools and our venues of entertainment, it seems that the only mention of God and Christ that are acceptable is when Their holy names are taken in vain. We have rampant sexual immorality and perversions that many of us didn't even know existed when we were younger. Our children are often compromised, misled and corrupted at the very places that we send them to be educated. Our large corporations preach the "gospel" of perversion everywhere we turn. And our government, the very one that was founded on godly principles nearly 250 years ago, openly opposes most forms of Christianity while at the same time openly supporting every type of sin imaginable. And if you should speak out against them, you better look out.


I believe that it is time for a change! The change needed is a return to God, and to the religion that He requires. If we will do so, we will have all the power we need to combat the forces of evil that currently control this world in which we live. The very reason that we are reading the Word of God is to find out how He wants us to live, how He expects us to approach the true religion of His kingdom. If we will do so, we will have all the power we need to meet the forces of this corrupt world head on... but, if we will not, then our form of religion will become so weak that it will do us more harm than good.


Which will we choose, I wonder?


Today's reading is II Timothy 3-4, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews 1-4. They are short chapters, but they have much to reveal about the power contained within true religion.