Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Much Ado about Nothing (not about the play) (07/28/11)
TITLE: Where Nothing Comes From
By Doug Laird
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Scripture, such as found in John 15:5 make it clear that it is the power of God and not the human power of the believer that produces divine good.
Man, apart from God, can produce NOTH-ING of spiritual value for himself or for anyone else. God uses edified born again believers to communicate spiritual truth, but it is God alone who does the work of regenerating a dead human spirit (Titus 3:5) and the edifying of the human soul (John 14:26).
Spirituality is not about Man making or keeping himself “right” with God by doing such things as living within the generally accepted parameters of traditional morality; doing deeds of human good; or by the products and practices of Man-made religion.
Yes, there are earthly individual and national benefits for compliance with such things as living within the parameters of traditional morality.
However, there is nothing gained, either here or in Eternity, and much to be lost, by attempting to enter into or to remain in a relationship with God, that is based human production. Human production includes the practice of Man-made religion.
God the Holy Spirit will bring all born again believers to a folk in the road where one must choose to follow the minority down the road of spirituality, or to follow the majority down the road of religion. An individual can go no further until that choice is made.
By choosing either way, he/she chooses to reject the other.
While both can appear to be the same, spirituality and religion are antithetical and incompatible. One can be “religious” or “spiritual”, but not both without becoming spiritually unstable by what Scripture (James 1:8) calls double-minded.
Some souls are wise enough to take the road of spirituality in order to be born again, but will later on enter into or return to the road of religion in a misguided attempt to retain the salvation that he/she already has and cannot lose.
It is the decision NOT to believe in a presentation of the Gospel Message that results in one remaining as spiritually dead as he/she was when he/she came into this world.
It is the decision of a born again believer NOT to continue in the Word of God (John 8:32) that will cause him/her to become so vulnerable to all of the counterfeit alterna-tives that Satan (1Cor.11: 14, 15) and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil have to offer.
Learning to discern the difference between what is spiritual and what is religious is a fundamental part of discipleship.
Like any other form of successful counter-feiting, religion must appear to be spiritual to the ones who are to receive and be de-ceived by it.
Satan and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil have a religious counterfeit for virtually everything that God has established for the Church Age.
The devil downplays the need to be saved (John 3:3) by promoting the love and mercy of God, while disregarding such attributes as the justice of God that had to be satisfied, and the character and nature of God that cannot even look at sin or evil in an approving manner (Hab.1:13), let alone excuse it.
Satan does not attack, but will promote the religions of the world (Psalms 96:5) because those who adhere to such things are already out of the salvation picture and unwittingly headed for what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 13, 15).
The focus of spiritual combat (Eph. 6) during the Church Age dispensation is on the proclamation of the true Gospel Message, and the edification of those who are born again.
The devil has a two-fold strategy in this conflict is .
On one hand he attacks the mission given to the Church which was and is to preserve and to proclaim the true Gospel Message to unbelievers, and to make disciples, that being students and appliers of the Word of God of those who are born again.
On the other hand, the devil promotes what overtly appears to be the Church, but is no more than a product of religion involving itself with many functions and activities that were never assigned to it.
This will be especially true as we enter into the final days of the Church Age (1Tim.4:2). It is from this false system of religion that much ado about nothing comes from.
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