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