When we come to church and deal with spiritual matters, we aren’t always dealing with them the way God intended.  For instance, when people think about the Lord’s expectations in their lives they often confuse what they are doing with what he wants.

They’ll confuse:

Reformation with Regeneration – Titus 3:5 – Reformation is giving up misconduct and behaving better – however, you are still the same old creature.  Regeneration is a renewing of the Holy Ghost – you become a new creature.  In A.A., for instance, the best a man can become is a recovering alcoholic – he’s reformed, at best, but he’s still an alcoholic.  In salvation, the old drunk is regenerated and becomes a brand new child of God.

Religion with Relationship – Jn 1:12; Mk 7:7-13 – Religion is man’s doctrine on how to live and how to get to God.  Relationship is God’s doctrine whereby we become his children.  There is a huge difference in these two because religion never gets you to heaven and in a relationship with Jesus you are already there.

Regret with Repentance – Jn 12:42-43 – Regret is sorrow for what you’ve done [like Judas Iscariot].  Repentance is turning from whatever is keeping you from God and turning to Jesus.  Lots of people feel regret for sin but there regret never changes them.  Repentance will change you because you are sorry for who you are, not merely what you’ve done.

And we need to help the lost clear up this confusion by showing them the truth from the Bible and by witnessing to them.

However, we suffer from a bit of confusion ourselves.  We often confuse:

Reputation with Righteousness – Reputation is what we want men to think of us.  Righteousness is what we truly are in Jesus [2 Cor 5:21].  We get so concerned with our reputations that we fail to let the righteousness of Jesus in us be know to others who need it.  In other words, we procrastinate on witnessing because we are afraid of what it makes us look like to some of our friends.

Reason with Responsibility – Lk 20:1-8 – The Pharisees reasoned out the answer to Jesus’ question until they couldn’t answer him.  Reason is what we use to excuse ourselves from an opportunity to witness.  Responsibility is what we have to the Lord and to the lost to tell then how to be saved [Acts 1:8].  We often come up with good excuses to avoid our responsibility.

Conclusion: If you are trying to reform while practicing your religion and you simply regret your sins from time to time, you must repent, be regenerated, and become God’s child.  If you are reasoning away your responsibility to witness, now is a good time to forget about your reputation and go tell your friends about Jesus.