Is Christianity a religion?
When we fill forms we are asked questions such as male or female, Muslim or Christian, Black or White and other questions to categorise who we are. At the end of the day, we are given a tag. Based on all the forms I have filled in my life; I would be referred to as a black Christian Female. This means that all I have to do is tick yes to Christian and boom, I’m Christian.
What is religion?
Merriam Webster offers 3 definitions to religion in the context of our conversation today:
- the service and worship of God or the supernatural
- commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
- a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
There is so much more to Christianity that can not be placed in these boxes (definitions). Is Christianity, service and worship to the one true God? Absolutely, Yes! Is Christianity a commitment to the Christ-based faith? Yes! Is Christianity a system of attitudes, beliefs and practices? On a minuscule level, sure!
Christianity is so much more. The perfect way I'd describe Christianity is a relationship with God, powered by the Holy Spirit based on the acceptance of Jesus! It is very possible for you to tick yes; I am Christian on a form without believing in Jesus.
Here is something interesting Pastor Chris Oyakhilome said in one of his teachings about Christianity:
“Religion is a phenomenon of the panting of a man's heart after God in which case he arranges His mind and plans his activities towards pleasing that personality he has created in his imagination as God and goes forth to do everything that he can to please Him. But, Christianity is the living, pulsating life of God in the human body. It is God at home in a man's body. It is divinity alive in a human body. It is Christ in you. It is a relationship between a human being and a real God. It is a relationship, not a religion. There is a big difference.”
You can’t live a life based on abstaining from sin, being overly conscious about what is the "latest sin" to abstain from is or being afraid to death about missing church or not paying tithe because, God forbid, something bad will happen to you. That is not the purpose of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:18 (NIV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
Christ came to die so that all people will no longer be powerless against sin and the devil. He came so that all people will no longer have a broken fellowship/relationship with God. When Jesus died, the curtain that separated the people from the presence of God tore from top to bottom indicating that All men, women and children can come to Him because Jesus opened the path. He died to take away the obstacle that separated us from God, the guilt of sin. Christ died to take away our condemnation so there nothing making you feel less than you truly are.
Romans 8:1 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
“Gospel” means “To be too good to be true news”. The gospel is the good news that God came in Christ to reconcile every single one of us to Himself and He is not counting our sins against us i.e our past, present and future sins are forgiven. He took away every obstacle that can stop us from calling Him, Abba father. The gospel shows that God has done everything through Jesus to make us unseparated-able from Him.
Romans 8:38-39 (AMP) For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God has done everything to ensure that we come into a relationship with Him. He didn’t come to die for us to become merely religious. He didn’t come so we can tick a form that classifies us as Christians. He didn’t come so you merely go to church on Sunday without knowing Him. He didn’t come so you will be afraid of Him and not be able to talk to Him.
Check this out:
Romans 8:15 (TPT) And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,”[a] leading you back into the fear of never being good enough.[b] But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,”[c] enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!”[d]
When you stepped into Christ, you became an original child of God. Before you believed in Jesus, you were one of his creations who had the opportunity to become a son but had not accepted it.
Why is a relationship with Jesus important?
Boy meets girl. The boy begins to mature and evolve into a better version of himself because of the girl’s influence. Relationships change us for the worse or the better. The same applies to our relationship with Jesus, it makes us better. The more time we spend with Him through studying His word, the more we become like Him. His word changes us, His word transfigures us, His word washes away everything that does not align with Him.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMPC) And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
Christianity is more than a religion. We are brought into oneness (participation) with God the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The day you accepted Jesus, you stopped being a Homo Sapien, you became a Homo Christus. You became a new creation!
Galatians 2:20 (TPT) “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me—we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine![a]
This is why we look at the mirror of God to see ourselves. Don’t forget what you saw, go and live like the man you saw.
Christianity is more than religion! It is strictly friendship-based! Are you a friend of God?
How to have a relationship with God
Check out this prayer we normally close Christian meetings with:
2 Corinthians 13:14 (TLB) May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. May God’s love and the Holy Spirit’s friendship be yours
2 Corinthians 13:14 The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.
The fellowship of the Holy Spirit has to be in practice! A daily practice, a real part of your life as a believer! Wake up every day and spend time with your love.
Talk to Him, learn more about Him, Miss Him, Love up on Him.
Listen, if you are not used to doing all of this. It may feel weird at first. The devil may even try to tell you that you are being fake but keep at it.
Repeat all of this consistently and daily. That is what God wants. He doesn't want you to be the church-going Christian alone, there is so much more. Jesus is so much in love with you.
"Religion is man trying to reach up to God. The message of Christianity is God reaching down to man. Religion is about what man has to DO to be right with God. Christianity is about what God has already DONE to provide us the opportunity to be right with Him. Religion says you must EARN your salvation by doing good deeds or certain acts and not doing evil. Christianity says all we need to do is BELIEVE that Christ has already paid the price for the evil we have done. Christianity says we are all evil (filled with sin) and there is nothing we can do to earn the right to be saved. Christianity says that God (in the form of Jesus Christ) stepped into our place and paid the awful price that had to be paid for us. He gave us the free gift of salvation if we choose to believe in Jesus."