Religion is humanity’s attempt to reach out to God. It is a man-made construct. It involves human effort, rules and methods which attempt to understand or reach God.
In the Bible the Pharisees were religious but they did not personally or intimately know the true character and nature of God.
They were religious leaders who read the Scriptures, but when God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ – the Pharisees could not recognize his divinity because they lacked genuine relationship with God. Therefore, they persecuted Jesus and plotted to kill the very person who created them and came to save them from their sins.
Looking at the happenings in Shakahola, Magarini Sub-County of Kilifi County where pastor Paul Mackenzie directed his congregants in February 2023 to fast for 40 days and die before a disaster strikes and “the world ends soon”, you realize that even in our present time majority of people are yet to have a genuine relationship with God. They are what the apostle Paul describes in 2 Timothy 3, that in the in the last days, people will be characterized as “having a form of godliness but denying its power”.
It is saddening, to say the least, that a number of worshipers including children have died as a result of starvation because of pastor Paul’s “holy doctrines”. This begs the question; are people just following a religion or how can we bring humanity back into a relationship with God?
The Bible consistently warns us to be aware of of false teachers and false teachings. The Bible warns us that spiritual deception will increase in the last days.
Indeed these are the last days because the devil wants us to be in a state of deception since he is also known as “the father of lies”. However, Jesus desires that we know the truth because it’s the truth that will set us free from the bondage and deception of the enemy.
With detectives from the Homicide Unit having exhumes a total of 39 bodies from graves in Pastor Mackenzie’s land, you realize that false teachings can ultimately lead people to the gates of hell. The land is currently cordoned off by the police.
It is therefore important in our daily Christian walk that we always guard ourselves against false teachings.
One of the main differences between Christianity and many religions is that the Christian faith is centered upon God seeking a relationship with His creation. God is actively seeking a personal relationship with humanity despite man’s moral and spiritual failures.
GOD is actively desiring a relationship with humanity.
Revelation 3:20 says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Christianity is about God initiating a loving relationship with sinful man through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He wants to save man from the very issue and problem that will prevent humanity from having an eternal relationship with Him. He showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
There is no quick fix in our relationship with Christ. In fact, He is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Christianity is about Christ-likeness. It emphasizes relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a lifestyle that is centred on imitating the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
As we wait to see what will unfold from the ongoing investigations against Pastor Paul Mackenzi, it is important to always remember and remind those we interact with that Jesus Christ did not come to create a religion. He came to bring humanity back into relationship with God.
He is the Mediator between God and man because without Christ, mankind cannot be reconciled with God.
Like it’s written in James 4:8, let’s “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…”