Christianity is a huge religion that has many different denominations and branches. Through the thousands of years since Jesus walked on this earth, there have been changes and growth within the Christian church. The growth can be a great thing, but one problem is the amount of misinformation and manipulation of information that can come out of it.
Unbeknownst to us, we might be holding on to a Christian “belief” that isn’t actually from the Bible at all. Our churches aren’t trying to trick us, but sometimes we interpret the Bible wrong. We create things that sound like they were from the mouth of Jesus, when they weren’t at all.
Here are some deeply held religious beliefs that you will not find in the Bible.
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
This is a phrase you may have heard your mother or Sunday school teacher say in order to clean up your toys and crayons. The people around you may appreciate you staying clean, but this is not scripture. If adults want to motivate their children in a Christian way, parents should use a statement like “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
"God won't give you more than you can handle."
The point of living in a fallen world is not for us to try really hard to carry our heavy burden, but rather realize we can’t do it alone and surrender to God instead. That’s what faith is all about. Everything in life is absolutely more than we can handle without Jesus. He, however, can help you through these difficult times. In 2 Corinthians 1:8 it says “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” Jesus wants us to turn to Him when the world is too much, and echoes this idea in Matthew 11:28 that says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“We are saved by faith alone.”
You might be confused to see this one on the list, but you would be surprised by the amount of people that believe only showing up to church on Easter and Christmas means they are granted entrance into heaven. Salvation by faith alone is the idea that the one and only thing that saves us is believing in Jesus Christ. Nothing we do, good or bad, has any effect on our salvation. However, “faith alone” appears only once in the Bible, and in that one passage it is specifically denied: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). We have to repent for our sins and ask God for His forgiveness in order to be saved. We must submit our lives to Him, trying to live out our lives like Jesus did.
"Bad things happen to good people."
There are a few things wrong with this statement. First, we have to recognize that the idea of a good person is incredibly subjective. Often, we place ourselves in the judgment seat of what is good and bad, or who is good and bad. However, according to the Bible we’re all on equal ground because none of us is inherently good: “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one’” (Romans 3:10). We can't compare two people and say one person is good, because another is worse. Furthermore, it gives us the idea that we have the right to judge, when ultimately that is only God's job.
"God wants me to be happy."
Some Christians have it in their heads that God is really a genie that will grant them their every wish. They even will go as far as thinking their sinful actions are justifiable, because God would want them to be happy and have fun. Happiness is a feeling that is tied to our current circumstances, which can change on a daily basis. God wants us to be obedient to Him, trust Him and know that everything He does is for our good, even if it doesn’t make us feel “happy” in that moment. Do you think Noah was happy when he knew the flood was coming to destroy everything he knew? Romans 8:28 says "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Your “deeply held religious belief” should be that Jesus meant what He said. If it’s not in the Bible, it might not be true. Use your critical thinking skills before accepting what you are told as Biblical truth. Your diligent work to understand the Bible will help you grow your faith to something much bigger.