According to the strictest sect of our religion I lived [as] a Pharisee.
Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton wrote a book with an interesting title: More Jesus, Less Religion. Their point: “It was Karl Marx who said, ‘Religion…is the opiate of the people.’ Religion, with all its rituals and trappings, can indeed be hypnotic. When all you do is jump through hoops to try to get to God, it is easy to either give up or to get weird trying to earn God’s favor.”1
Christianity is not a religion; it’s a life-transforming relationship with Christ. Religion represents our efforts to find God; Christianity is God’s effort to seek and to save us. He said: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3).
When we do come to God through Christ, there are certainly some routines we establish to remain consistent in our worship and obedience to Him, like church attendance and daily prayer. But we shouldn’t think of these as religious procedures but as personal joys. “We don’t need more religion,” wrote Arterburn. “What we need, what we must have, is more of Jesus.”
- Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton, More Jesus, Less Religion (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook, 2000), xiii.
2 Corinthians 5-9