There is a difference between religion and faith that is not properly understood, particularly by those who are repelled by the religious expression of Christianity. Many people brought up in believing families find the experience of corporate Christianity to be manipulative and hypocritical; they see it for what it is; religion, “things that bind” in Latin, rather than the truth that sets free; a business or a chosen career path for some; a place of bondage, somnolence and insurance for others. They turn away in disgust and the tragedy of it is that the well from which the water of life is meant to flow has been poisoned to them; they will find it hard to ever again seek the truth in Christ, since He has been so manifestly misrepresented in religion.
Religion is seen as a system, rather than a person; faith is a person. Religion is not light, nor can it be salt; these are the by-products of faith, not religion. Religion blinds the eyes, stops the ears and darkens the heart. We must shed the religious externals of our faith; discard that which is outward and material and focus instead on the internal and spiritual; only thus are we able to see God in all His glory. Only as we tear down the structures of religious appearances are we able to take hold of the hidden treasures of the reality of God.
Today the vast mass of Christianity has no experience of the spiritual power of faith and only clings to religious dogmas in hopeful tenacity for social and cultural reasons; Christians are in thrall to the creeds of religious denominationalism and the rulership of sacerdotalism – priestcraft.
The Bible is far more than a theological textbook or a guide to moral behaviour; it is the record of God’s progressive revelation to man; it is the divine history of the human race as it relates to that revelation. The unenlightened may see in it nothing more than the religious literature of the Jews and the history of the apostolic Church; but the mind occupied and enlightened by the eternal Spirit of God will be able to read between the lines and discover there the divine plan for this world from alpha to omega.