What is Christianity?
Religion vs. Relation
What is religion? What would the world say it is? A crutch? A mythological construct? A super-narrative that attempts to answer all of life’s questions? Is being religious adhering to a moral standard? Is it an acceptance of a certain set of mores (cultural standards)?
Most often, from the culture, I hear religion as being something people believe in which usually has to do with a God and who that God is and how to live a good life. Religion is something that people use to comfort themselves. It can bring purpose into their life.
I hear more often than not the Christians answering the question, “Are you a Christian?” with “Yes, I go to church, I’m a good person. At least I try to be.” But is that all Christianity is? Going to religious events, speaking in religious terms, reading the Bible, doing the right things. Is it all just a bunch of traditions?
What is it to be religious? What does it mean to be a Christian? Christianity promises eternity. What does it ask in return? To believe in Christ and who the Bible says He is and to obey Him. So is it then just a bunch of religious terms and conditions that end up as set traditions? I would argue the second it becomes merely tradition is the second it becomes merely meaningless.
The pivotal unspoken defining attribute to what it truly means to be a Christian is ‘reality’: To truly believe that the Bible and the information that is detailed inside of it truly happened and the God of the Bible truly does exist and what He stated as true about the universe is really real. Belief is not a neutral stance or a matter of opinion but belief determines what you think about reality - what is really real out there in the real world.
So to be a Christian is to believe whole-heartedly, or with a completely convinced mind that Jesus Christ is who He said He is in accord with what is written about Him in the Bible. And in accord with that to obey Jesus, as our Saviour, and the God of the Bible, as our Creator. What do they demand of us? Besides belief? To love. Of course He defines what this love looks like, but as Jesus once said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Why? Why should all this matter? Even if we grant the Truth of the Bible, why is it so important to obey? Do we become slaves to His commands? No. His laws are for our benefit, not His own. He is full of love for His creation, especially human kind, who He created in His own image. If God has absolute and perfect love, tempered with justice and righteousness, and His commands are for us to love, is it too much to make the connection that He desires relationship over mere obedience? Don’t get me wrong, He wants obedience, but only within relationship, for anyone can behave in an honorable manner and yet have deceitful intentions.
He wants you to know Him, He has opened the door for you to enter into eternity, but He has given you the choice of whether or not to enter in. He wants you to know Him and love Him because He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him, not because He needs you, but because He made you for such a purpose as this.
Christianity was never about being “religious”. It was never about simply doing all the right things or going to church. It was never about the moral code of conduct, although going to church and being moral is an important part of Christianity for different reasons, Christianity is about relationship. It is about the existence of a Sovereign, all-mighty God. A God who wants a personal relationship with you. A God who wants to share all of eternity with you because He loves you.