Adam Northcroft
Why don’t religious people like God?

To many people being religious seems so right. It means that you try harder at being good, at conforming to the moral expectations of society and generally become more respectable.

It will often mean going to a place of worship and learning how to improve, how to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and hopefully make you feel better about who you are while earning God’s approval in the process.

And what could be wrong with that? Don’t we need more of this?  Isn’t this the heart of the Christian message?

Well, no it isn’t. It really isn’t. In fact, it is the very opposite of what Jesus said.

Religious people clashed with Jesus, and still do today.

They really do not like his message because it says religion isn’t enough because it focuses on external behaviour and conformity, while leaving the heart untouched.

Jesus made it clear that salvation doesn’t come through works. It can’t be earnt even through the most generous or selfless of deeds. Attending church countless times doesn’t guarantee anything and working at self-improvement doesn’t cut it nor does obeying countless religious rules.

This totally robs you of the ability to justify your own salvation and means that you have to humbly accept it as a gift without any contribution from self-effort. All you need is to truly believe in Christ as the Son of God and repent from your sin.

When genuine, this act is deeply transformative. True salvation affects the heart and subsequently actions, producing behaviour that seeks to please God not produce self-justification.

The religious hate this. It means they are no better than anyone else and have no ability to control their salvation. All their hard work counts for nothing and means they are totally reliant on God and not themselves.

Christ is looking for people who humbly believe and have faith in him, not on people simply committed to self-improvement.

Where do you stand? Have you got God or religion?


Do you want to talk about these issues? Why not attend Alpha. Run once a week for 10 weeks, this popular course is for anyone who wants to know more about God, life or the Christian faith. The next one will be held at Hope Church on September 25th. See www.hopechurch7oaks.org/events  or email: Ian@hopechurch7oaks.org