IS CHRISTIANITY A RELIGION?
Jesus never wrote a book or created a law for living or behaviour. Neither did He found a religion of rituals and regulations. Jesus saw religion as humanityís response to God, but the Gospel (Christianity) is Godís response to human need.
Religion is man-made; the Gospel is God-given. Religion is what man does for God, but the Gospel is what God has done for man. Religion is man searching for God, but the Gospel is God searching for man. Religion is man climbing the ladder of his own righteousness with the hope of meeting God at the topmost rung, but the Gospel is God coming down the ladder in the incarnation of Jesus Christ and meeting us sinners at the bottommost rung, dividing history into B.C. and A.D, which is Godís act and fact in human history.
Not A Matter Of Rituals
When religion is mentioned in the New Testament, it is not anything that Jesus advocated. And where it is mentioned, it is a superstition. In some translations, religion actually means superstition (Acts 25:19;17:22). Another Greek word rendered religion in New Testament indicates rituals and trappings of ceremonial faith (Acts 26:5; Col. 2:16; Jas.1:26,27).
Jesus saw religion as the great enemy of godly faith. More than anything else, Jesus attacked the hypocrisy of religious people. Religious action, without inner personal commitment to God, deeds of charity to the needy, etc., He regarded as hypocrisy.
Not A Matter Of Regulation
Religion tries to make people good .The Gospel says you cannot make yourself right with God, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23). Religion is good advice and goodness, but the Gospel is a glorious announcement of the power of God into manís salvation and good news for all people.
Religion takes a man and leaves him as he is, but the Gospel takes a man as he is and makes him what he ought to be. Religion can lead to an outward reformation, but the Gospel leads to an inner transformation.
A normal person is fallen and sinful. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom.3:23;6:23).
The standard of goodness is found in the holiness of God and not in human relativity. We are not measured by our standards, but by Godís. So, the Gospel (Christianity) is neither a performance of rituals, nor obeying of regulations. Instead, it is a relationship with God.
A Matter Of Relationship
Jesus never came to establish a religion, because we cannot redeem ourselves (Jn.10:10). He came to give us eternal life. Dr. W. E. Sangster preached in Westminster Hall in London, "He wrote no books, He formed no creed, He formed no code, this was His method; we have it in the text. And He chose twelve, that they might be with Him." Ah, that is it--that they might be with Him!
Relationship With Jesus Christ
Worship and beliefs are part of Christianity. But Christianity itself is not a religion; it is a relationship with the one true God through our faith in Jesus Christ. Christian faith is a living vital relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Claim that friendship now! Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." The Gospel (good news) is the power of God unto Salvation to every one (irrespective of caste, creed, religion, race, colour, etc.), who believes. So, there are many religions, but one God.
My friend, we therefore do not go even with the Christian religion. But we go with the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of the world. He alone can save us from the power of Satan, sin, suffering and sickness and give us peace that passes all understanding. And thank God He is finding His way into the hearts of men and women all over the world. He is raised from the dead and is living. Jesus is calling you, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt.11:28). You can experience His saving grace if you call Him into your heart, for cleansing the sin-sick soul. This is the Gospel, the good news for all humanity and not a religion for a few.
God should be the Lord of all or not God at all!