Just reading yesterday’s daily devotional by T. Austin Sparks, the introducing Bible verse somehow hit me. It says,
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev 18:4 KJV)
I read the related article (partly, at least) and then went back to a chapter before which deals with “The Cross and Deception”. Even yesterday I had a talk with one woman who is still church bound, a fact that turns out to be a burden for her at times, and another woman who seems to love Jesus, too, yet who is still seeking for a place or a group where she feels spiritually at home. The only thing I can do for these two women is to pray that God gives them a hideaway where they cannot only rest before Him, but together with fellow believers IN Him also since it is so important that we “[b]ear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2 KJV). On our own, it is so much harder to keep walking uprightly before God, isn’t it? So, here is TAS with his apposite deliberations on the dangers of a mere outward religious life.
Deceived by religiousness. What more can be expected than the recognition of the fact of God and the giving to God of reverence, acknowledgment, and recognition: of taking active interest in things which relate to God, attending religious services, and being very busy in religious activities and interests, and finding your chief interest in religious things and the religious realm? What more can be expected? What is the matter with that? Be patient, bear with me if I say with very great emphasis: that may be one colossal delusion. So often that very thing obscures one fundamental thing, a true and living relationship with God. “Ye must be born again”, and religion very often obscures that issue. Oh, religion is no argument for salvation. Religion can be found in the darkest places of the earth. Universally there is religion; depraved and very low in many places, but universally there is the consciousness of standing in relationship to some supreme object of worship, demanding worship; and then men’s minds or imaginations get to work to give some kind of expression to that consciousness, of that supreme object of worship, and the imagination produces that sometimes out of a tree, a stone, or in the heavenly bodies; somehow it is expressed, but it is the thing that is there, behind all the forms of expression which is universal. All the highly civilised forms of that brought into the realm of Christendom are only the same thing developed. It does not say that Christendom’s more intelligent, civilised, educated interpretation of God, even though it gets its ideas from the Bible, is salvation. It may be a mighty delusion and very often is.