Christianity is a heart religion – not a ritualistic one. Nevertheless, some churches and denominations have tried to make Christianity a ritualistic religion. They do this with sacraments, traditions, and additions to the word of God.
Don’t be caught up in these things. Throw off every device of man and cling to the words of the prophets and apostles who gave us the Scriptures. They have made clear that our service to God works from the heart outward – not from rituals inward.
Here’s a sampling of how the apostles Paul and Peter direct us in this matter [emphasis added]:
…you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed…
– Romans 6:17-18
…doing the will of God from the heart.
– Ephesians 6:5-6
…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts…
– 1 Peter 3:14-16
These apostles are building on what the prophet Isaiah had said centuries before:
Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,
Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men will perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”
– Isaiah 29:13-14
The words of Isaiah were fulfilled in the days of Jesus and His apostles. We can see the same principle at work in our day.
Love God with all your thoughts, and let that love work its way into your behavior. Do not think that religious rituals impress God. He wants righteousness!