Is Christianity a Religion or a Relationship?
Religion is humanity’s attempt to reach out to God. Religion is a man-made construct. Religion involves human effort and human rules and methods which attempt to understand or reach God.
In the Bible the Pharisees were religious but they did not personally or intimately know the true character and nature of God.
The Pharisees were religious leaders who read the Scriptures, but when God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ – the Pharisees could not recognize the divinity of Christ because they had no genuine relationship with God. Therefore the Pharisees persecuted Jesus and plotted to kill the very Person who created them and came to save them from their sins.
Why Christianity is a Relationship
One of the main differences between Christianity and many religions is that the Christian faith is centred on God the Creator of the universe seeking a relationship with His creation.
1. God is actively seeking a personal relationship with humanity despite man’s moral and spiritual failures.
Examples of God actively desiring a relationship with humanity are the following:
Psalm 14:2 says: The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
Revelation 3:20 says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.
Jeremiah 33:3 says: Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Isaiah 55:6-7 says: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
2. Christianity is about God initiating a loving relationship with sinful man through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God wants to save man from the very issue and problem that will prevent humanity from having an eternal relationship with Him. For example:
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16-17 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
John 1:12 says: But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God
3. A personal relationship requires getting to know a person intimately, by spending time with that person and learning the character and nature of the person with whom you have a relationship with.
God is constantly wanting humanity to have intimate knowledge and understanding of His character, His precepts and even His voice. Therefore we cannot know who God is unless we spend time with Him.
James 4:8 says: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…
In John 10:14 Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me”
In John 10:27 Jesus also says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
4. God is a friend of those who seek Him and follow Him.
Within Christianity, God does not present Himself as a distant God who does not wish to intimately relate with His creation. God does not only describe Himself as Creator, Savior or King to humanity but God also describes Himself as a friend to those who follow Him.
In John 15:14-15 Jesus says: “You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
James 2:23 says: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
5. Christianity is about Christ-likeness. Christianity emphasizes relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is a lifestyle that is centred on imitating the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:1-2 says: Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Jesus Christ did not come to create a religion. He came to bring humanity back into relationship with God.
Jesus Christ came so that He may become the Mediator between God and man because without Christ, mankind cannot be reconciled with God.
In John 14:6 Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Therefore God is constantly seeking a relationship with humanity. He does not desire to see anyone perish. Such a relationship is possible through Jesus Christ alone.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST?
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to change your mind about sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
Through faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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