Christianity as a religion versus Christianity as a relationship with Jesus Christ
|Is Christianity a religion or a relationship? Most people probably think of Christianity as a religion. I intend to answer this question, and give Biblical examples and scriptures related to the subject.
What is religion?
This is the link for the definition of religion on dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/religion?s=t
If you look at Christianity as a certain set of beliefs one follows, you could call it a religion.
What is a relationship?
This is dictionary.com’s definition link for relationship.
If you look at Christianity as a connection, association, or an involvement, you could call it a relationship.
I consider Christianity both religion and a relationship. It is a set of beliefs that develop into a connection, association, or an involvement with God the Father through the blood of Christ the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. If it is just a religion to you, you are missing the most important relationship of your life.
3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God[b] and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—
4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee;
6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless.
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
The Apostle Paul knew both religion and relationship. You can see here he had all the physical qualifications to be considered “religious” He was passionate about his Jewish religion and upbringing. Verse 6 says that he was blameless according to the law, and he persecuted the church. Look at verse 8. He talks about knowing Christ (personally). That is relationship. He gave up his “religious” status for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
It is one thing to believe in God and Jesus and go to church. It is different to have a relationship with God and put your faith into action. The devils also believe and fear God, but they do not have a personal relationship with him. They do not please God. When we go into relationship with God, we desire to please him. We please him by putting our faith into action. Let’s look at a few more verses from James chapter 2.
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Verse 23 states Abraham was called the friend of God. That is again a relationship.
Let me make it clear we are not saved by our works. However, because we are saved and have faith, our works will follow and demonstrate what we believe. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Can religion love you? It is a two-way relationship. God loves us. We love God because he first loved us.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
This passage again shows a relationship with God through the blood of Christ the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit. We receive this relationship by our Faith in Jesus Christ. Enter into this relationship today! Don’t be God’s enemy. Christianity is so much more than just a religion.
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