World Religion and True Religion
While reading John Wesley on The Sermon on the Mount Volume 2: The Standard Sermons in Modern English Volume 2, 21-33 (Standard Sermons of John Wesley) (Yeah, that’s the real title of the book) I came across the following:
It is just as impossible to satisfy the hungry soul that thirsts for the living God with worldly religion as it is to satisfy the hungry soul with what the world counts as “happiness.” The religion of the world includes only these three things:
- Doing no harm. That is, we must abstain from outward sin, at least from such scandalous transgressions as robbery, theft, common swearing, and drunkenness.
- Doing good. The religion of the world calls for us to relieve the poor and to be charitable (as it is called).
- Using the means of grace. This aspect of the religion of the world includes going to church and partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
If people have these three marks, the world accounts them as “religious persons.”
However, will mere “religion” satisfy the soul that hungers after God? Never. Outward religion does not provide food for the soul.
Wesley always has a way of reminding me that relativity isn’t a good standard; it’s actually the absence of a standard. It’s always tempting for one to compare oneself to others and arrogantly think “I’m doing pretty well.” That’s always wrong and it doesn’t feed my soul.