Religion exists to control faith, faith exists to keep religion in check. Religion is man's interpretation of God's will, faith is its acceptance.



Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


\Re*li"gion\ (r[-e]*l[i^]j"[u^]n), n. [F., from L. religio; cf. religens pious, revering the gods, Gr. 'ale`gein to heed, have a care. Cf. Neglect.] 1. The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers."

You must notice the implication of human action pervades this word which is diametrically opposed to the concept of faith, trust and belief.


1) [Acts 26:4-5]:

(v. 4) "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem.

(v. 5) They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee."

Pharisees in Jesus' time became legalistic, arrogant and unprincipled separatists; believing that their religious lifestyle was superior to the rest of the world and favored by God.

During the Maccabean period in the reign of John Hyrcanus, (134 - 104 B.C.), the two great conflicting parties in Judaism came into existence - the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees evolved from a pious group of people called the Hasidim - who stood true to the Law under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 B.C. But the Pharisees in Jesus' time degenerated into becoming legalistic, arrogant and unprincipled separatists, believing that their lifestyle was superior to the rest of the world and favored by God. They prided themselves on their intellectual capacity and 'superior' knowledge of the Scriptures. Such knowledge, however, was superficial and unbiblical, not being connected to the context and true meaning of God's Word. Nevertheless they used their sanctimonious lifestyle and presentation of false doctrine to maintain their position of political rulership, often at others' expense, (cp Mt 23:13-36 and Lk 11:39-52 ).

The Pharisee was viewed by others as a prime example of doing good. People thought of him as 'knowing' (Old Testament) Scripture and obeying it so well that few doubted that he was destined to see the kingdom of heaven. Compare Lk 18:26. Note the surprise of the disciples at our Lord's pronouncement of condemnation on the rich young ruler; a man who arrogantly proclaimed to have kept the commandments. Because of a supposed 'faithful' lifestyle people believed the young ruler was blessed by God with wealth. This was a man who had a similar background to many of the Pharisees like Nicodemus.

2) [Compare Ro 2:17-24]:

(v. 17) '''Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God;

[Notice that although God's chosen people are Israel, they turned away from Him in attempting to enhance their relationship with God]

(v. 18) if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law;

(v. 19) if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark,

(v. 20) an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--

(v. 21) you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?

(v. 22) You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

(v. 23) You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?

(v. 24) As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." '''


Faith, (belief, trust) is passive. It is not proactive toward the accomplishment of an end. It is simply a mental acceptance of something as true. Furthermore, you will note that there is a difference between faith - a mental assent, a passive concept, and faithfulness - which encompasses human action in order to demonstrate ones faith in a particular set of doctrines and principles.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary: faith \Faith\, n. 1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, -- the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason. believe \Be*lieve v. t. [imp. & p. p. Believed; p. pr. & vb. n. Believing.] To exercise belief in; to credit upon the authority or testimony of another; to be persuaded of the truth of, upon evidence furnished by reasons, arguments, and deductions of the mind, or by circumstances other than personal knowledge; to regard or accept as true; to place confidence in; to think; to consider; as, to believe a person, a statement, or a doctrine. " trust \Trust\, v. t. 1. To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith, in; as, we can not trust those who have deceived us. I will never trust his word after. --Shak. He that trusts every one without reserve will at last be deceived. --Johnson. 2. To give credence to; to believe; to credit. Trust me, you look well. --Shak. 3. To hope confidently; to believe; -- usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object. I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face. --2 John 12. We trust we have a good conscience. --Heb. xiii. 18. 4. to show confidence in a person by intrusting (him) with something. Syn: Confidence; belief; faith; hope; expectation"


The New Analytical Greek Lexicon which is a dictionary of the koine Greek language of the Bible, (Wesley J. Perschbacher, Editor, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma; 1992, p. 329), states as the meaning of the word pisteuo which is translated believe in the English Bible translations as follows: "(4100)... [pisteuo] 1 pers. sg. pres. act. indic., fut... [pisteuso] believe, give credit to, Mark 1:15; 16:13; Luke 24:25; intrns. to believe, have a mental persuasion, Matt. 8:13; 9:28; James 2:19; to believe, be of opinion, Rom. 14:2; in N.T. [pisteuein en, eis] to believe in or on, Matt. 18:6; 27:42; John 3:15, 16, 18; absol. to believe, be a believer in the religion of Christ, Acts 2:44; 4:4, 32; 13:48; trans. to intrust, commit to the charge or power of, Luke 16:11; John 2:24; pass. to be intrusted with, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17"

Note that the Greek word used in the Bible which is translated into forms of the verb 'to believe' is also defined according to the Greek dictionary to mean a trust in the information presented, i.e., a mental assent - devoid of additional actions on the part of an individual other than the mental agreement.



a) [Heb 11 ]:

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."


The Word of God confirms that forms of the verb to believe when used in passages concerning how an individual receives eternal life is defined as a single moment of acceptance - an instant of mere mental assent - of the testimony of God about His Son:

a) [1 John 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.

[Accepting the testimony of God about His Son is presented here as an agreement that what God is saying about His Son is true - mere mental assent. The next verse then defines accepting the testimony of God as believing:

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart..........

["has this testimony in his heart" = in his mind. Anyone who believes that the Son will provide eternal life for him has this testimony in his heart such that it is a part of his mental understanding that he is now saved unto eternal life]

(v. 10 cont.) .....Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

[So to be saved one must believe in the testimony of God about His Son. The verb believe is herein defined relative to salvation unto eternal life as a moment of mental assent, a single instant of acceptance that what God says about His Son is true. Nothing else is required here in order to receive eternal life such as demonstrating this faith by some kind of action]

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

[i.e., if you want eternal life: trust in God's Son to provide it for you]:

(v. 12) He who has the Son has life..........

[He who believes in God's testimony about His Son - that the Son will provide eternal life for him if he merely believes in the Son doing this has eternal life, (v.10)]....

(v. 12 cont.) ...he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."

[To have the Son means to believe that He will provide eternal life for you. To not have the Son is to not take God at His Word that the Son alone will provide eternal life for you. So if you believe what God testifies to, then you will therefore have eternal life because God says so. God being Who He is, He will deliver. And then John writes further that an individual can know that he is saved unto eternal life at the very moment of his mental assent]:

(v. 13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you many know that you have eternal life."

So, taking God at His Word about eternal life through His Son provides assurance that you do now possess the gift of life everlasting in heaven never to lose it.

So nothing in the word 'believe' relative to securing eternal life implies that any action is required beyond the simple trust - the simple mental assent stated in Jn 3:16 and numerous other passages in the Bible. Just as one would simply believe that a door is green via a simple mental assent; or that an individual who is physically incapable of vigorous movement, can still believe that exercise is good for his health, i.e., a simple mental assent, without actually performing the exercise itself; so in the same way one can trust alone in Christ alone as one's Personal Savior unto eternal life - without doing anything beyond the simple mental assent. Consider that this is true especially since God has completed all that is necessary for any individual's salvation, (Eph 1:3-2:9). And consider this in the light that all men are totally depraved and incapable of contributing a single acceptable thing toward anyone's salvation, (Ro 3:23; 8:8; Isa 64:6; Ps 14:1-3; 58:3; Jer 17:9).



Since religion implies works and since works are excluded from the grace of God unto salvation, then religion, i.e., works are mutually exclusive from one another relative to salvation unto eternal life.

1) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [*salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

["this" = "touto", neuter = salvation, not faith since faith is feminine]

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."

a) Faith Is Non Contributory Toward Ones Salvation

Since salvation is stipulated in Eph 2:8-9 as being 'by grace', i.e., unmerited favor and 'not of works' and 'not of yourselves' = 3 ways of saying non contributory indicating that a man contributes nothing to receive salvation,

then the faith itself that a man exercises to be saved must also be non-contributory toward salvation.

The faith therefore must be passive and not active in the sense that it simply causes an individual to receive the results of what God has already done - this acceptance of a free gift of all that God has already done relative to the matter of salvation. So one trusts in God doing it all for him in order to be saved: he contributes nothing and trusts in God to do it all.

Just as one can say that he trusts in a friend to take care of his house while he is unable, (for some unspecified reason), such that that trust does nothing to contribute to what was required to take care of the house, it is simply a mental assent - a mental belief in the faithfulness of his friend doing all the work for him, (i.e., water and mow lawn, keep it secure, feed and exercise pets, take care of the plants, etc., etc.); so in the same way one can say that one trusts alone in Christ alone to take care of his salvation such that that trust does nothing to contribute to what was required to pay the penalty for his sins and provide forgiveness for him, etc., etc. in order to insure that he was saved unto eternal life; it is simply a mental assent - a mental belief in the faithfulness of our Lord in doing all the work of salvation for him.



Does religion become compatible with faith after one is saved?

It is important to realize that doing religious works to please God is not the way to walk by faith; rather walking by faith is evidenced by doing godly works.

The key to successful Christian living is to understand and follow the grace way of life as contrasted to the Mosaic way of Life - the self effort way of life.

This requires thinking like God thinks, a renewing of the mind by constant study and acceptance of what God thinks as presented in His Word every day.

a) [Pr 3:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

[Notice: lean not on your own understanding. But without an understanding through a study and acceptance of what God has said in His Word, we are only left with our own understanding]

(v. 6) in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

In order to acknowledge Him in all your ways, you must know how to acknowledge Him, which comes through a study and acceptance, i.e., faith in what God has said in His Word.

So it all comes down to a life of faith in what God hath said, permitting God the Holy Spirit to do the leading:

[Lewis Sperry Chafer, Founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, Systematic Theology, Vol IV]:

"If the manner of life under grace is superhuman so also the provided enablement is supernatural; and it is limitless as the infinite power of God. Since God has proposed a humanly impossible manner of life, He has in full consistency provided the Spirit Who gives life.

Too much emphasis cannot be placed on the fact that since God has proposed the impossible rule of life and provided the sufficient Spirit, the believer's responsibility is thereby changed from being a struggle of the flesh to being a reliance on the Spirit.

Grace thus introduces a new problem for the believer's life which is wholly foreign to every aspect of the Law. It is the problem of the adjustment of the heart to the holy presence of the Spirit; and of maintaining the unbroken attitude of dependence on Him. The new principle of achievement consists in getting things accomplished in the believer's daily life and service by trusting the power of another rather than by trusting the energy of the flesh.

The revelation concerning this new problem of life under grace constitutes a major part of the teaching of the epistles. Not only is the faith principle directly taught in the epistles, it is implied and assumed in every injunction under grace. The unfolding of the precise relationship between the personality of the Spirit and the personality of the believer is not omitted. Experientially, the believer, when empowered by the Spirit, will be conscious only of the exercise of his own faculties. The Spirit does not disclose His presence directly. His ministry is to reveal and glorify Christ. His presence will be evidence however by the victory that is wrought, which victory could only be wrought by the Spirit.

Thus, either the by works principle of the Law or the by faith principle of grace may be chosen by the believer as a record of achievement within the deepest issues of Christian conduct and service. If these heaven high demands are undertaken in the energy of the flesh, they become purely legal in character. If they are undertaken in full reliance on the provided energy of the Spirit, they are purely gracious in character. One is holy within the scope of the covenant of the Law which covenant is based on works, the other is fully within the scope of the covenant of grace, which covenant is based on faith. Thus the teachings of grace, when attempted in the energy of the flesh, become a legal code, the demands of which are most impossible to meet. How very many Christians are under this aspect of Law, even those who give some attention to the actual precept of grace."


a) [Compare 1 Jn 1:3-9]:

(v. 3) "We [apostles] proclaim to you [who are already born again believers, (ref. verse 2:1)] what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.

(v. 4) And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

[So John is writing to believers proclaiming information from the Lord Jesus Christ for the purpose of establishing in the believer an ongoing fellowship with the Apostles and ultimately with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The stated purpose then of 1 John is to tell Christians how to be in fellowship with God]:

(v. 5) This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:

God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.

(v. 6) If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not the truth.

(v. 7) But if we walk in the light as He [God] is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

["But if we walk in the light as He [God] is in the light" = Notice that the writer John states "if we walk in the light" and not "if we walk according to the light."

If John wrote "according to the light" this would have to mean that believers in their thoughts, words and deeds be without sin.  But the believer cannot sustain this kind of holiness because he still retains his sin nature, (ref. 1 Jn 1:8, 10). But to walk in the light means to be open and responsive to the perfect and holy light of our God and Savior which shines down upon us exposing our unholiness moment by moment. Hence we are made aware at all times of our shortcomings.

So as we believers walk in the light as God is in the light then we believers become aware of our shortcomings, acknowledge them and thus have fellowship with God.

"and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin." = As a result of responding to the light in which God is by choosing to walk in it and not by trying to emulate God in all His perfection on our own, (religion), the sin which we believers are constantly committing is, by the grace of God, simply and completely purified - done away with - because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross; and not because of any success we believers had in walking in sinless perfection for a moment or two. The author John then writes in verse 8]:

(v. 8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

["If we claim to be without sin" = a principle or a cause of sin = sin nature , i.e., if we claim to be without the sin nature. John is saying that even believers have the tendency to sin and they cannot ever claim to be without this tendency until it is time to leave this mortal body and go to be with the Lord, (cp Ro 7:15-25).

But the grace of God is always available: verse 9 is a key verse for the Christian to be in fellowship with God]:

(v. 9) "If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

[Notice that it is Almighty God's faithfulness and justice that is stressed as what is behind God's action to forgive and purify the sinning believer every time that that believer confesses his sin. To be sure, God's love toward His child - the believer - is what motivated Him to enable Himself to graciously deal with the sin of the believer; but His justice and faithfulness can only be exercised because of what God the Son accomplished on the cross. Otherwise God could not exercise His faithfulness or His justice toward the sins of the believer in spite of the love of God.

"If we confess our sins" = "homologomen" = confess the same thing back to God what the Spirit has already made the believer aware of in his conscience with respect to his sins.

Incidentally, "homologomen" is in the present tense in a context which infers one is to constantly to confess. So the believer admits back to God on a moment to moment basis the particular sins that are brought by God to his mind. Then God will forgive that believer of those sins; and what is more He will purify that believer of all of his unrighteousness and bring him back into fellowship with Himself - under the control of the Spirit. That believer will again be filled with the Spirit]:

"He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins" = lit. "these our sins". i.e. these particular sins which we have just admitted to.

"and purify us from all unrighteousness." = and God will purify us believers of all sin at the moment of confession of known sin in our lives up to that moment. Even that sin which the believer did not confess and might not even be aware of is purified. So now at that moment of confession the believer is filled with, i.e., controlled by the Spirit, He has received the light - is walking in the light, i.e. he is in fellowship with God. All of this is accomplished solely by the grace of God and not by any efforts on the believer's part except to simply admit wrong doing.

Zane Hodges put it this way in his commentary on the Book of 1 John, (BKC, p.886]:

'''Naturally only God knows at any moment the full extent of a person's unrighteousness. Each Christian, however, is responsible to acknowledge (the meaning of "confess," homolgomen;).................. ......whatever the light makes him aware of, and when he does so, a complete and perfect cleansing is granted him. There is thus no need to agonize over sins of which one is unaware.

Moreover, it is comforting to learn that the forgiveness which is promised here is both absolutely assured (because God "is faithful") and also is in no way contrary to His holiness (He is "just").....................

As is already evident from 1:7, a Christian's fellowship with God is inseparably connected with the effectiveness of the blood which Jesus shed for him.

In modern times some have occasionally denied that a Christian needs to confess his sins.....It is claimed that a believer already has forgiveness in Christ (Eph 1:7). But this point of view confuses the perfect position which a Christian has in God's Son (by which he is even 'seated...with Him in the heavenly realms' [Eph 2:6]) with his needs as a failing individual on earth. What is considered in 1 John 1:9 may be described as 'familial' forgiveness."

['familial' = relating to a family. i.e., the family of God - the relationship of a child of God to his Father is estranged because of the child's sin. Fellowship with the Father is broken but he never loses his eternal destiny in heaven]

[Hodges, cont.]:

'''What is considered in 1 John 1:9 may be described as 'familial' forgiveness. It is perfectly understandable how a son may need to ask his father to forgive him for his faults while at the same time his position within the family is not in jeopardy...... Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Himself taught His followers to seek forgiveness for their sins in a prayer that was obviously intended for daily use (cf. the expression 'give us today our daily bread' preceding 'forgive us our debts,' Matt. 6:11-12)........ confession of sin is never connected by John with the acquisition of eternal life, which is always conditioned on faith.......................

[Conditioned on faith alone in Christ alone]

....First John 1:9 is not spoken to the unsaved, and the effort to turn it into a soteriological affirmation is misguided.....

[Soteriological = that which has to do with one's salvation unto eternal life]

....When a believer loses personal touch with the God of light, he begins to live in darkness. But confession of sin is the way back into the light."


a) [Eph 5:1-2; 18-21]:

(v. 1) "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

(v. 2 ) and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

(v. 18) Do not get drunk on wine by which there is dissipation...

[intemperance, wasteful lifestyle]

but [in contrast] be continually filled

[pervaded with the influence, controlled by]

but be continually filled by means of the Spirit.

[Examples which of being filled with the Spirit are]

speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Singing and making music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."

["speaking..." = Verbs in these next two verses (20-21) are all nominative plural present passive participle, i.e. they are '***ing' words indicating a number of examples of behavior which illustrates being filled or controlled by the Spirit. This behavior is passive, i.e. the believer is not the initiator of the behavior - God in His grace is.

In the Book of Galatians Paul instructed the believers at Galatia to live in such a way as would be characterized as being controlled by - filled with - the Spirit:

i) [Compare Gal 5:13-26]:

(v. 13) "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love.

(v. 14) The entire Law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

(v. 15) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

(v. 16) So I say, live [be controlled by] by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

(v. 17) For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you [born again - saved - believers] do not do what you want.

(v. 18) But if you are led [controlled by] by Spirit, you are not under Law.

(v. 19) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

(v. 20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions,

(v. 21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those [believers] who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

[Sinful believers will all go to heaven because God in His sovereignty has provided completely for their salvation through their faith in what Christ did on the cross, (Jn 3:16, 5:24, 6:47, I Jn 2:2 & 5:9-13); but they will inherit nothing when they get there. They will lose their inheritance - their rewards - owning nothing but dwelling in heaven for the rest of eternity. This is like an earthly father who disinherits his son for unrepentant immoral behavior but does not disown him - he remains his father's son but without any inheritance to enjoy]

(v. 22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

["But the fruit of the Spirit is" = The evidence of one's being filled, i.e. controlled by, the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.]


a) [1 Tim 5:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.

(v. 4) But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

b) [Compare Jas 1:26-27]:

(v. 26) "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

(v. 27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."