Christianity: Religion, Relationship Or What?


28/11/2011 by Shalim

Many Christians do not call their faith a religion but a relationship. I think there are three reasons for this.

  1. In this age of pluralism with so many different work-based religions, we feel and think it is important to stress that our beliefs are altogether different. Where these beliefs teach that people can be saved by keeping a set of moral codes, The Bible teaches that we cannot do anything good of a spiritual nature to make God pleased or happy with us. So, as far as it goes, Christianity is not so much a religion, as commonly understood, but a relationship offered us through God’s unmerited grace.
  2. The other reason that some Christians may shun the religion talk is they could be antinomians. This, I feel, is the wrong view to take—and dangerous. Simply put, antinomianism is the idea that we are free from the law (or moralistic constraints), so many who fall prey to this inadvertently think that their lifestyles shouldn’t have a degree of structure. So when you notice a fault in your brother or sister that could hinder their walk with God, they may say: come on, we are under grace; Jesus forgives our sins, remember? This might not be so in-your-face but their lifestyle would certainly show it.
  3. The third point is similar to the one above. Since some get rid of religion, there are tendencies to make Jesus our ‘home-boy’ than Lord. These take the friendliness of God to its extreme by making his holiness, sovereignty and utter ‘otherness’ a matter of indifference.

So what do I think? Religion, Relationship or what?

Christianity is a religion. James teaches us about “pure religion” James 1:27, which means we have something called ‘religion’. The word religion comes from Latin which means “to bind fast” or “place an obligation on”. Every Bible-believing Christian is bound to the testimony of Scripture; it is our steering wheel in our life-course. To illustrate the idea that we are bound by Scripture, Luther elegantly says, “My conscience is held captive to the word of God”. It is true that the Gospel frees us from the drudgery of sin and its final consequences. But it does this by freeing us from sins captivity and bringing us to Christ and His Word. As time passes we become captivated by God’s Word that it begins to rule, dictate and guide our everyday lives. We have a measuring rod and we are bound, not to sin, but to God.

So in essence our faith I would conclude is a religion because it keeps or binds us; it’s not chaotic or disorderly. With that said it is not a set of beliefs or patterned-prayers we must follow to be saved. Rather we are saved only by and to God, and as a result we follow His commandments.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. – John 14:15

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5


5 thoughts on “Christianity: Religion, Relationship Or What?

  1. Nice bro.
    Concise & precise

    I often think about this, simply put it’s both, but as you say not in necessarily the common understanding of the word [religion].

  2. Myke Mclean says:

    I can see where you are coming from, but God did nail the handwriting of requirements which was against us to the cross, thus fufilling the law which we could not, the 10 commandments I mean. Therefore I see my belief in Christ as more of a relationship because under the Law the children of Isreal were distant from God, but unde grace we have been made nigh by His blood, to the point where the Holy spirit indwells us. The whole point of Jesus’ death was to reconcile us back to the relationship God had with Adam where Adam was only conscious of God. Lover is the fulfillment of the Law but as John rightly states, that this is love, not that we Love God bu that He loved us and gave His Son for us. With this in mind we begin to realise that our love For God comes as a result of recognising His love for us, thats how it is birthed. We can’t love God in and of ourselves that was the point of the Law, thats why under grace our love for god comes as a fruit of our faith in knowing what Christ has accomplished at the cross. Thus we can’t glory or boast in our love for God, but God’s love for us that then causes ous to love God back. thus as the apostle Paul rightly states, in such circumstances, ‘that in all things He may have the preeminence’. God gets the glory from the fact that our Love for Him is not birthed from self but from the the finished work of Jesus.

  3. […] one of my earlier posts, I closed by saying Christianity was and is a religion. Before coming to that conclusion, I divided […]

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