Does God want or respect Religion? The answer is NO. God wants a RELATIONSHIP with His people. Don't believe me? Well let's consider the Word of God.
Nobody followed the law like the Pharisees, they were diligent in their reading, they kept up the traditions, they seemed like perfect men and women. However, on the inside it was different. Here is what the Bible says:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
They were very religious people, but they didn't even see God when He walked right pass them! They wanted to kill Him because He knocked them down off of their high horse.
God wants a relationship.
Just because you are a "Christian" does NOT mean you have a free ticket into Heaven. What will keep you out is that relationship. Don't believe me? Let's go back to the Word:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Those verses shake me to the very core. Even those that prophesy in His name, cast out demons, and do other works may not enter Heaven because they didn't have that relationship.
In the ancient Hebrew word that was translated as "knew" when God said I never knew you is the same as when Adam KNEW his wife.
Now, God doesn't want a sexual relationship (get your minds out of the gutter), He wants an intimate relationship. He wants to be loved first and foremost. To know Him on this level, you must read His word and talk with Him every day, and listen to Him when He speaks to you.
No to another point. Don't think that your specific sect of Christianity rises up beyond the others. Christians today are very divided among each other because of different "interpretations" of the Bible. We all need to turn out backs to our Religion, and look at the Bible, so we can be in one mind and one accord. Don't interpret the Bible in a different way or take a verse out of context because YOU don't agree with what it says. Who are we to interpret what the Bible says? I'm not talking about the different versions, I'm talking different interpretations. Let's go back to the Word:
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
This means that the Bible is the absolute Word of God, and it's not of private interpretation. The Bible says what it says, end of story. If you don't like something that's in the Word of God, turn to another Religion. As for me, I suck it up and trust in the Lord.
What I want you to get out of this is:
1. God is not interested, nor does He respect any particular Christian sect (or any other Religions). God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), meaning He doesn't care what where you come from, what you did, what language you speak, or what color your skin is.
He may not be a respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of faith.
2. We as Christians need to stick together, despite doctrinal differences. We all need to be one body, working together for God. We may have to cast out all of the traditions that we're so used to in church and just seek the Lord (seek and you shall find). I'm not saying traditions are a bad thing, just don't let them interfere with the relationship between you and God. If you are like me, you want God to say "Well done, my good and faithful Servant, enter in" instead of "Depart from me, you worker of iniquity, I never knew you!"
3. God's word should never be interpreted in a different way so that you feel better about it. The Bible says what it says, no if's, and's or but's.
Thank you for reading, and God bless