"God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss, not prosperity." --John Piper

Monday, July 18, 2011

What is your answer to this question?

I just started reading through Jonathan Edwards "The Religious Affections." It's going to take a while. It seems to be the kind of book that you can't just read through, you have to think it through.

You don't normally expect to get hung up in the introduction, but even the intro has a lot of thought in it. He begins with this question as a premise. "What is the nature of true religion?" Seems like a simple enough question to answer, but look around at the various religions and even at the variety of answers within a single religion, and you will see much diversity, if not in response, at least in practice.

So does this make God the author of confusion, or do we not get it?

It seems to me that there is no one subject where God ought to lead more than in the answer to this question, yet there is no one subject where we bring our preconceptions and baggage in than this.

I look forward to reading this book. It's gonna take a while. But these nagging questions haunt me...Does Jonathan get it? Will I?

If you dare and have the time, what is your answer to the question of the true nature of religion?


Dakota said...

When reading this question, my mind was drawn immediately to James 1:27:

"Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

In other words, pure and true religion bears fruit and keeps one separate from the world. Many false converts love to brag about their many spiritual gifts (tongues, healing, etc.), but Matthew 7:20 reveals that we will know them, not necessarily by their gifts, but by their fruit. Gifts of the Spirit are of course given to true believers (Romans 12:6), but the trademark we should look for is fruit-bearing, "for a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (Luke 6:43)

In Christ,

"Herein is My Father glorified: that ye bare much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples." -John 15:8

Spherical said...

Thanks, my mind went to that Scripture too. And even though it can play itself out in many ways, I think that you have hit the heart of the matter.

Which leads to another question, what does it look like to bear fruit? Certainly church attendance, giving, and service are not the sum and total of bearing fruit. There are so many ways we can justify our actions through this process, which is why, I believe, that Scripture teaches us to always be examining our thoughts and motives.

Thanks for your comment!

Kansas Bob said...

Dakota beat me to that verse in James. Another simple answer to the question is that a "good" religion will lead adherents of it to love God and love people. And people who want to know what it means to love people just need to read the parable of the Good Samaritan. :)

Spherical said...

I think so many of the parables reflect good religion. Yet they were told to those who should have known and who could not see. So what does that say about the human heart?