Is Christianity A Religion?

Is Christianity a religion?  I do not believe so.  And when I say "Christianity", I am referring to that which was brought to pass in Acts 2, when God's culminating work by Jesus Christ was poured forth in the giving of the new birth, eternal life -- the gift of holy spirit.

Men in the pulpit today can read scriptures and say the words "Jesus Christ", but that does not make it true Christianity.  One must go back to the Word of God and find out what the Word says, and see if men's actions line up with the Word of God.

"Religion" is what man does.  Many scholars believe that this word comes from the Latin religare, "to bind fast".  And that is what religion usually does:  it ties down, it binds, it controls.  Christianity, on the other hand, is what God did in Christ Jesus.

The object of religion will always be to direct the flesh, and by rules and regulations try to make the flesh bring forth spiritual fruit.  Religion tries to cleanse the inside of the man by prescribing rituals and actions.

Christianity is not a religion -- it is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  It is what God wrought in Christ.  God is our Father, we are His children.

A Christian, when he receives the gift of holy spirit, is cleansed.  He is given righteousness, justification, and sanctification.  The Christian is then encouraged, in love, to walk on the Word of God, which glorifies God and brings help and deliverance to others.

Religion focuses on rituals and actions to try to bring people closer to God, rather than accepting what God did in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4-9

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

People are told what to eat (or not eat), how to dress, what not to do, and many other things that will somehow, hopefully, make them so that God will love or approve of them.   Now, the believer's lifestyle should definitely be different than that of a non-believer, but salvation is a gift from God -- it cannot be earned, worked for, or purchased.  Religion attempts to replace God's work with man's work.

We go to a record in the Word where Jesus Christ's disciples were being accused by the local religious leaders of not being religious, that is, obeying the traditions of man:

Matthew 15:1, 2

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?  for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

What was in question here?  The Word of God or "the tradition of the elders"?

Matthew 15:3-8

But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother:  and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free.  Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

People may act very religious, very pious, very devout, but their "heart is far" from God.  They put religious tradition above the Word of God.

Jesus Christ summarized the law and prophets into two commandments:

Matthew 22:35-40

Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Yet even with Jesus Christ personally present here on Earth, God was not done.

It was not until his death, resurrection, ascension, and then the giving of the new birth in Acts 2 that Christianity was made available, and men and women could live according to the spirit, not man-made rules and regulations:

Romans 8:3-6

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

If God so freely gives, then the believer's response is to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and not put the tradition of man (religion) ahead of God's wonderful and matchless Word.

Man has a re-connection to God by one way only, and that is by the faith of Jesus Christ.  Everything else is religion.  Even if we are a Christian but do things that are not in the Word of God in place of God's Word, those acts are religion, they are not the Word.

Colossians 2:6-8

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians exhorts us to walk in "Christ Jesus the Lord".  How?  By walking on the Word of God that is addressed to the born again believers.  When we walk according to man's word then we are not walking in Christ Jesus.  It is religion.

As we walk on this wonderful Word of God, we are built up, established, and we abound.  We have growth and blessings!

And, we are to "beware lest any man spoil" us.  "Spoil", in this usage, means to "plunder, pillage, or rob".  People, many times sincere wonderful people, will try to get us to accept less than God's best, that is, they will push religion on us.  If we allow this to happen then we are robbed of the truth of the Word of God.

When we are told we are not worthy, that the manifestations of the spirit died with the apostles, that signs, miracles and wonders are no longer available, or that God wants us to suffer -- are we being told the Word of God or is it religion?

The only way to know if we are following the traditions of men or walking on the Word of God is to know that Word of God.

Let us determine in our hearts to go to the Word of God and find out what it says, for then we know we are living according to the truth, and not religion.

There is no life or power in religion.