Everyone throughout time, since the fall of Adam and Eve, has been born in sin (Romans 5:12). Mankind has become lovers of their selves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, heartless without natural affection, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, reckless, haughty, and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4). Many people live their lives by performing the works of the flesh which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, being rude or disrespectful, lack of acknowledgment of God, witchcraft, having hate, love to fight or debate, being jealous, looking for revenge or to injure, strife, not agreeable, substitute the truth for personal preference, ill-will, murder, habitual intoxication, rioting attitude (Galatians 5:19-21). The Bible says that those who conduct these acts will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21). Those that choose to not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God are on their way to Hell for eternity (John 14:6, John 3:18). Sadly, some people think that religion is the answer.
Religious people have an appearance of God but they deny, reject, and refuse Him to have any power within their lives (2 Timothy 3:5). Being religious is not what God is looking for. God is looking for people to humble themselves and pray to Him in seeking forgiveness for their sins (John 3:3,7). Religion is not the answer.
So far, one can see that there are a plethora of sins that can keep a person from getting into Heaven. THERE is GOOD NEWS. God is the answer. Having a real relationship with God is the answer. Jesus Christ died so anyone, anywhere, can be forgiven of their sins (John 3:15, 1 John 2:1-2, 1 John 1:9). The plan of salvation is easy as believing in the heart and speaking with the mouth (Romans 10:9-10). It is by faith that a person is born again of spiritual nature (Luke 7:50, Romans 3:28, Romans 5:1-2). Once a person declares that Jesus is the Son of God, He died for their sins and asks Jesus to forgive them of their sins, they are released from the bondage of sin. It is up to that person to not submit to sin again (Romans 6:12-13). This does not mean that a Christian is perfect or never sins for the rest of their lives but it does mean that they do not live in sin. When sin takes place they instantly ask God for forgiveness and make the wrong right again. Realizing the power and liberty of now being a Christian there is a relationship with God that must be maintained like any other relationship.
True love for God will create expressions of love not from a sense of duty or obligation but from a desire to display love (James 1:21-22, James 2:18). A relationship with God should change each Christian to look more like Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:1-2, Titus 2:11-12, 1 John 2:28-29). That is the heart of being a Christian is to be Christ-like. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins? Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2) so confess your sins and make Jesus your Savior today.
The Southern region of the United States is called the Bible belt. This is both a good and bad reflection for those that live within this area. It is good in the regard of using the Bible as the metric of guidelines of living life yet bad in the aspect of many became religious very quickly in using the Word of God to think that action or knowledge equals a relationship with God. The Apostle Paul writes that Christians are to test or examine themselves and their faith in God through their relationship with Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5). He also states that Christians should do what is right whether they appear approved or not (2 Corinthians 13:7). These verses reflect that one’s appearance before other men is not the heart of what God is looking for but a person that does what is right because they know and love God.
Many religious people will do what looks right to have a reputation of knowing God or being the Christian everyone expects them to be. This type of person has a form [the appearance, formula, fashion but not genuine] of godliness, but they deny [contradict, reject, refuse, renounce] the power of God from working within their life (2 Timothy 3:5). Religious behavior shuts off the kingdom of God not only in the lives of the hypocrites, the religious people, but they, in turn, shut others off from the kingdom of God by their actions affecting the people they interact with (Matthew 23:13). Jesus even describes many people will prophesy in His name, cast out devils in His name, and did miracles in His name but He tells them that He never KNEW them (Matthew 7:22-23). The Son of God, Jesus, specifically says that religious acts will not get a person into Heaven but knowing Jesus as Saviour and Lord in a true relationship leads to a life in right standing with God.
Religious facades teach other people how to act and speak Christianese but not the heart of God and how to have a relationship with Him (Isaiah 29:13). The true heart of God is to know His Word, know how to live a holy life, but most importantly to know Him (James 1:21-25). Religious people seek perfection in appearance while God desires relationship. God gives those that love and walk with Him grace to cover their imperfections yet expects them to live holy lives that give Him glory and honor (Ephesians 2:8-10, 1 John 1:3-9). Although God does expect obedience to Him and His Word, He wants our hearts to love Him and desire a relationship with Him every day. Christians should not be religious but have sincere love for God creating a sincere love for one another (1 Peter 1:22). Sincere love does not present hypocrisy or a façade but a genuine relationship. May Christians not be religious any longer but know, serve, and love God with all that is within them (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, Deuteronomy 6:5).