Lately I have been hearing a number of psychologists being interviewed concerning the matter of religion. They have specifically discussed the universal tendency of each each culture to need to worship something greater than themselves. Each psychologist also added their opinion that it is time for us to move away from such needs and obtain a modern mind. Of course my conclusion was somewhat different after listening to them. I thought these gentlemen had missed the point that none of us feel complete without fellowship with God because that is the way we were created. It is a simple matter of introducing everyone to the one true God. However, I realized after that they were right on one point; it is time for us to move past the religious mind.
Religion is a plague on all societies because it brings a requirement of actions that play no part in salvation. They require the person to become dependent on people (priests) for their knowledge and understanding, as well as on ceremonies or rituals. There is also a lot of superstition and mysticism involved in this mindset. The early worship of YAHWEH started off with many rituals and ceremonies but each had the purpose of showing what we lacked with a promise of the freedom that was promised to come. YAHWEH only wanted relationship with us but it was impossible due to our fallen state so he had to improvise until the time was right for our rescue. In explaining the earthy tabernacle the writer of Hebrews says:
The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. (Hebrews 9:8-9)
When the tabernacle was set up and the sacrifices and rituals were established YAHWEH was building a temporary bridge so that we could know of him. He desired relationship with us not sacrifice but the sacrifice was necessary at that time to allow for relationship. However, he promised us a new age when sacrifice and rituals would no longer be necessary. That age arrived with Jesus, who became the one sacrifice for all time, that we could rise above the rituals and step into a relationship with YAHWEH. However, we are a people who find it hard to "walk in the Spirit" and find it easier to trust in "things".
Even today the Church and individuals have rituals they rely on instead of walking in the relationship they have with YAHWEH. The people who have been placed in our lives as trainers and teachers we tend to turn into priests. Just consider your attitude toward your pastor. Maybe you are one who is free from dependency on him but many trust only him for understanding. God has given us a banquet of teachers but people align themselves to one, making him their priest. The defend him, protect him and come close to worshiping him. We are still into the worship of the tools instead of the one who wields the tools.Yet we have been told that for each of us the Spirit is our teacher or guide or corrector. God has given us trainers but he has given us many of them and they are nothing more than servants. We have direct access and are expected to have a good, strong relationship with YAHWEH, not to worship him through someone else. Of these earthly things we are told:
They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order. (Hebrews 9:10)
There are those in the Body who want us to live according to the Old Covenant with all its rituals and regulations. They must be told that the "new order" arrived through Jesus Christ and these old, religious things are useless. We have been called into relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We need to embrace the truth that no foods, clothes or actions will gain us a better salvation than what has been offered to us by Jesus. We need to lose these religious attitudes and actions and discover what true relationship is. Salvation is by the blood of Jesus, it is the narrow way with the narrow gate. There is no other way and there is nothing we can add to it. Come to the Father through the Son and enjoy the richest relationship of your life along with its freedom from the religious mind..