Jesus is not a religion.
When someone asks, “What religion do you follow?” I mostly reply that I am a Christian.
But Christianity is not, nor was it ever meant to be, a religion.
Now this is not to say that a good many of us have not seriously attempted to make Christianity a religion, but trying does not make it so and merely confuses a whole lot of people who want to follow Jesus but don’t know how; along with confirming the suspicions of the world’s skeptics that we are, indeed, just one more religion.
A religion is (according to most dictionaries):
– the belief in a god or in a group of gods,
– an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.
Christianity is not merely a belief in Jesus, the Messiah, Son of the One True God. Even demons believe and shudder (see James 2:19) but we would hardly call them Christians!
Christians do believe, but our belief compels us to follow, walk, and talk with Jesus – Who is alive.
The miracle is that Jesus wants to walk and talk with us, too. It’s a relationship.
Religion is about reaching out to find God.
Christianity is about God reaching out to find us: out of heaven and down to earth – out of the grave and into our hearts.
Religion depends upon what we can do and accomplish for God.
Christianity depends upon what Jesus accomplished for us when He made the way to God wide open for everyone through His Body when He died on the cross for our sins.
Religion is all about rules and requirements.
Christianity is all about grace, forgiveness and love.
Religions are often easier to understand (do this, don’t do that) and more comfortable (it is weird at first to talk with Jesus – we call it praying – and listen to His responses). But relationships are more exciting (fall in love), more mysterious (who is that?), more life affirming (a good friend), more meaningful (for better, for worse), more powerful (newborn child), more challenging (teenagers!), more fulfilling (until death do we part) – just MORE – especially when the One we are in relationship with is the LORD God of everything!
What is Christianity? It is a relationship with God and others through the person of Jesus Christ.
So, the next time someone asks me which religion I follow, I’m going to tell them, “None. I’m not religious. But I am in a fantastic life-changing relationship with Someone, and His name is Jesus.”