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-Christianity is not a religion

QUESTION: Why do Christians say that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship? Aren't all religions about relationships with God?


ANSWER: There are many verses in the Bible that show us that true Christianity is a special relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only-begotten Son, and not just a religion. A few of these are: • “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4 NKJV). • “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:11-12).

• “Let it be known to you all … that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth … this man stands before you whole … Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).

• “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).

• “He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office, And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ So He left all, rose up, and followed Him” (Lk. 5:27-28).

In the old Testament, in order to worship God, people had to go to certain places designated by God where He would set His name. They were to avoid religious places dedicated to the worship of idols; in fact, they were to demolish such sites. God spoke of having chosen Israel “to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” when they were “the least of all peoples” (Dt. 7:6-7). But such a relationship was, at best, a national relationship, not a personal one.

All this changed after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He would no longer call His disciples servants, but friends (Jn. 15:12- 15). The world would treat them as it had treated Him (Jn 15:18- 23). To the women who had come to His tomb, He said, “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Mt. 28:10). And to Mary Magdalene He said, “Go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” (Jn. 20:17). The early believers both preached the Word and preached the Lord Jesus (Acts 11:19-20).

All man-made religions are essentially demon worship. “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God” (1 Cor. 10:20). When closely examined, these religions are not really relationships at all. There is no joy in them, no love either. rather, they are based on fear and works, on the thought of doing something to appease angry “gods.” For example, “When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him … he took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt-offering upon the wall” (2 Ki. 3:26- 27).

In Jonah, when the Lord sent the mighty tempest and their ship was about to be broken up, the heathen mariners “were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load” (Jon. 1:5). When they learned who Jonah’s God was, and that He was not a localized man-made deity from whose presence one could escape by going to another area, but rather “the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land,” they were “exceedingly afraid” (Jon. 1:9-10).

They tried to avoid doing what God demanded, but in vain. When they had thrown the runaway prophet into the sea, “the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows” (Jon. 1:16). They were, in all likelihood, treating the Lord as they would have treated their idols after such a deliverance! Thank God, the Lord knows to what extent their hearts were truly turned to Him!

Man-made religions not only are based on fear and on a works-based righteousness, but also they offer no reassuring certainty as to the future. Some gods are viewed as capricious, some are viewed as far off and detached from this scene, and still others are pictured as having the same vices that are common to mankind, thus in effect justifying them. Throughout the Bible we find idolatry and immorality very closely associated, and God warning both His earthly and His heavenly people against these sins. There may be “the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25), but no lasting peace and joy.

What a tremendous difference there is between true Christianity and every other religion. our Lord Jesus is alive in the glory and is there on our behalf, as our Mediator, Advocate, and Great High Priest. “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). other founders of religions are dead, but Jesus always lives and will soon come to take His own to be with Him forever!

For the above reasons, Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with our wonderful Savior, our wonderful Lord, Jesus Christ!

Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.

With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org

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