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Faith and Religion..What's the Difference?

Webster's dictionary defines faith as: “Unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence” and “An unquestioning belief in God.” Religion on the other hand is defined as: “Any specific system of belief or a divine or superhuman the creator of the universe.” Abraham had faith in the God he could hear within his own head, but could not see. As Paul wrote in Romans 4:3 “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Because of Abraham's faith God found favor with him and he found himself adopted into the family of God. So it is with each of us even today. Our works, social status and money mean absolutely nothing to God, for God does not look at outward appearances, but within the heart. (Samuel 16:7)

Moshe was chosen by God to reveal His mighty power to the Egyptians and Israelites alike and to lead God's people out of bondage in Egypt. Because people lose faith so quickly and turn from righteousness, God gave Moses the ten commandments as the foundation of how to live as His people and the laws within the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that describe the specific ways in which God would be worshiped. Moses established religion based on God's very specific instructions. In the years after Moses mankind parsed God's instructions and imposed even more laws to the point of ridiculousness.

Yeshua the Christ is God the Son who was born into the family of man so that he could experience life as a man and influence mankind with his divinity. Born into a Jewish family, Jesus observed, kept and encouraged those whom he influenced to keep the laws of Moses. Yet he also swept away the nonsensical, ministered to those who were outcast in that society and called those who were not Jewish to share in the promises of God. All of this was done by faith as he encouraged the faithful to believe in him. He stressed the importance of open communication with God in prayer and set aside the notion that only the priest could speak to God.

Yeshua and his disciples taught the word of God in fellowship with the believers in the open air and in homes, often sharing a meal while praising God for his goodness. Since that time mankind has once again permeated the pure word and memory of Christ's sacrifice for our sins with dogma, laws, rules and shut up buildings. This begs the question: Is all of this pleasing to God, or does it serve to please a religious system? Our hearts will know the answer if we open them freely to our heavenly Father.

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