GOOD religion elevates our thinking and shows us how to improve our conduct. It supports us in the struggle to do what is right and brings out the best in us. How do we know that good religion does that?
Notice what the apostle Paul wrote to first-century Christians who lived in Corinth, Greece. That ancient city was notorious for its immoral lifestyle. Paul warned: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Then Paul added: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, The Holy Bible—New International Version)
Imagine—good religion helped some who were formerly without moral standards to become clean and upright servants of God!
By contrast, the Bible warns: “The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear.”—2 Timothy 4:3, Today’s English Version.
How do the religions that you know of measure up in this regard? Do they uphold the Bible’s high moral standards? Or do they water down the clear counsel found in God’s Word, telling people only “what they are itching to hear”?
To help you determine whether a particular religion is producing good fruit, why not take the time to answer the following questions?
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: “Marriage should be honored by everyone, and husband and wife should keep their marriage pure. God will judge as guilty those who take part in sexual sins.”—Hebrews 13:4, New Century Version.
QUESTION: Does this religion require that among its members, couples who live together be legally married?
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: When asked whether there was ever any grounds for divorce, Jesus said: “Whoever puts away his wife, except for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”—Matthew 19:9, New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.
QUESTION: Does this religion respect Jesus’ direction and allow divorce and remarriage—but only on the grounds of immorality?
TOPIC: Sexual morality.
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”—1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV.
“Even the women pervert the natural use of their sex by unnatural acts. In the same way the men give up natural sexual relations with women and burn with passion for each other. Men do shameful things with each other, and as a result they bring upon themselves the punishment they deserve for their wrongdoing.”—Romans 1:26, 27, TEV.
QUESTION: Does this religion teach that sexual immorality either between a man and a woman or between a couple of the same sex is a sin?
TOPIC: Courageously upholding Bible standards among its members.
WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: “You must not associate with those who call themselves believers in Christ but who sin sexually, or are greedy, or worship idols, or abuse others with words, or get drunk, or cheat people. Do not even eat with people like that.” (1 Corinthians 5:11, NCV) What should happen to those who claim to be Christian but who are unrepentant sinners? “Expel the wicked man from among you,” states God’s Word.—1 Corinthians 5:13, NIV.
QUESTION: Does this religion remove from its membership roll any who unrepentantly ignore Bible standards?