Saturday, 26 January 2013

What is Christianity?

It’s Relationship

Christianity is not religion, its relationship.  Let me say it again; Christianity is not religion, its relationship!  Some things need to sink in somewhat.  For many people, even it seems many Christians, Christianity can be everything but what it is really meant to be, which is an intimate walk with God, mediated by Jesus.  What passes for Christianity in the world is often watered-down, religion that presses some of the buttons, seems good if not examined too closely, but which in the end always fails to fulfil and truly satisfy.  This is why I think some very religious people can be very judgemental, can mix up what is in the world with their faith, and get caught up in things which God does not want those He calls to get mixed up in.  Christianity summed up is simply a relationship, yes even an intimate friendship with Jesus, on a daily on-going basis.  In British vernacular Jesus is meant to be our best mate!  There is nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13 NJB)

 It’s Reality

Christianity isn’t something that you put on or off as the mood takes you, it isn’t private faith, it isn’t something that kind of exists on Sunday, it isn’t a nice warm feeling, it isn’t feeling smug or superior, it is reality.  Some Christians, even those with important positions in the Church, have said before today that they don’t believe in the virgin birth, or they struggle with the Bible story, and so on.  When someone asks for proof of God, I suggest you tell them to look in the mirror!  We are an amazing creation; how could we have just evolved in some haphazard and uncontrolled way when most of us are physically perfect, a breath-taking creation, the crown of creation.   God is real, always present and has a role in the world right now.  He isn’t some far off bearded bloke in the clouds, absent-minded and forgetful, or a mere fantasy someone dreamed up to frighten us; He is a real being.  He is the one true God.  Never has anyone heard, no ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for the sake of those who trust him.  You come to meet those who are happy to act uprightly; keeping your ways reminds them of you. Yes, you have been angry and we have been sinners; now we persist in your ways and we shall be saved.  (Isaiah 64:3-4 NJB)


It’s Truth

There are many beliefs in the world, many religious disciplines to follow, many religions seemingly to choose from.  Who do you believe, after all?  Are they all right, and if so how can they be?  Whose truth is the truth?  Some people claim that all religions are correct, they all lead to the same truth; sort of.  Some people say that most religions have something in them that is good.  Others dismiss it all as cosmic hogwash!  Yes, there are and have been many holy men and women, some forgotten now and others the prophets of diverse religions.  Only Jesus ever said He was the door to God, only He proclaimed to be truth, only He said He was life.  Jesus said: I am the Way; I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.  (John 14:6 NJB)


It’s, Above All, Love

Though I command languages both human and angelic -- if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.  And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains -- if I am without love, I am nothing.  (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 NJB)  We sometimes see those who are powerful in the established churches and denominations, or important people who claim to be believers, doing and saying things that do not emanate from a position or standpoint of love.  Often religion, yet again, seems to be much more about powerful, important and even wealthy people, than it does about those who simply practise their faith everyday.  Religion can be impersonal at best, but what else could an intimate relationship be based on other than love?  So love is the answer.  Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known.  As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.  (1 Corinthians 13:12-13 NJB)

 It’s Not Religion

Religion might mean people involving themselves in things, rituals, performances, and doing things that they think God might want us to do.  A faith initiated by God on the other hand couldn’t be more different.  In the first place, He approaches us, He loved us before we even existed.  Instead of being religious, perhaps we need to understand what Christianity is all about.  Religion constricts, whereas faith in Jesus frees us.  We were always meant to live in peace, in abundance, in happiness and with joy unending.  God is our Father, who wants only the best for us, regardless of who we are, where we come from, whatever social status we might have and irrespective of any difference from any other person whatsoever.  I have let myself be approached by those who did not consult me, I have let myself be found by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am!' to a nation that did not invoke my name.  (Isaiah 65:1 NJB)


It’s Not Controlling Other People

I urge you, brothers, be on your guard against the people who are out to stir up disagreements and bring up difficulties against the teaching which you learnt. Avoid them.  People of that sort are servants not of our Lord Christ, but of their own greed; and with talk that sounds smooth and reasonable they deceive the minds of the unwary.  (Romans 16:17-18 NJB)  Let’s be honest here; there are many in the churches who seem to gravitate to positions of power simply because they want to control or manipulate people in some way, those who use religion to gain control of other people, or to gain power and even wealth.  This is what we are warned about quite frankly.  I’m not saying that every Christian leader is like this, because they aren’t, but we should always be forewarned about such things.  Not all people are as they seem. 


It’s Not a Cult or Sect

Thus says Yahweh: With heaven my throne and earth my footstool, what house could you build me, what place for me to rest, when all these things were made by me and all belong to me? - declares Yahweh. But my eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit, who trembles at my word.  (Isaiah 66:1-2 NJB)  Some people think to pray they must be in a church, or even belong to a particular denomination to be a Christian.  It can sometimes appear that Christians, who are simply supposed to be brothers and sisters, are the most divided of people!  God does not necessarily want grand gestures, nor I think does He need us to build churches and cathedrals in His name, I believe that what He most wants from us is a humble spirit, a heart predisposed towards Him and other people and simply to be obedient.

 It’s Not Exclusive
I am coming to gather every nation and every language. They will come to witness my glory.  I shall give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations: to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coasts and islands that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations, and from all the nations they will bring all your brothers as an offering to Yahweh, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to my holy mountain, Jerusalem, Yahweh says, like Israelites bringing offerings in clean vessels to Yahweh's house.  (Isaiah 66:18-20 NJB)  Christianity, certainly in Britain, sometimes seems to be a social club for those who’ve got it all together, those with nice lives, good jobs, living in nice areas and sailing through life.  Many of us in Britain do not have perfect lives, we struggle, we endure hardships, and we fail to reach any kind of perfection.  God does not want an exclusive club for Christianity, He isn’t just about the terminally nice, He created every human being and calls every kind of person to be His and to serve Him with a whole heart.  Christianity is not the British class system!  Jesus came down to earth to save those who are lost, without faith, suffering, those who are deeply hurting and those who are often seen as unworthy and of no account.  The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn (to give to Zion's mourners), to give them for ashes a garland, for mourning-dress, the oil of gladness, for despondency, festal attire; and they will be called 'terebinths of saving justice', planted by Yahweh to glorify him.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise what has long lain waste, they will restore the ruined cities, all that has lain waste for ages past.  (Isaiah 61:1-4 NJB)


  1. Hi T-Child,
    Very well done!! You explained Christianity well and the Scripture chosen is perfect!

    Yesterday, I had two very interesting conversations on this very topic. Christianity is not religion but relationship. Sadly, religion and religious people have really soiled the 'Way'.

    I will bookmark this page and will send others this way next time I get into another conversation like I had yesterday.


    1. Hi Child of God, I'm really flattered you like my post. What I have found in writing my blog is that I am never at a loss for subjects, the Bible is so chock-full of inspiration that you are never lost for words.

      Yes, I think religion sometimes gets in the way of that perfect and simple relationship Christians are really meant to have with Jesus. I didn't grow up in any kind of Christian family or community, so the relationship with Jesus, without the religion, is what I have had as a Christian.

      I'm equally flattered you are going to bookmark my post; I'm going to read your latest post now.

  2. Hi Tim,
    very true. Jesus certainly found a lost one when He found me. By the way, I don't know if you know,the engineers have fixed the problem with importing pics from the computer now.

  3. Hi Brenda; I think for many of us, we are lost until He in His mercy finds us.

    I'm glad to hear they fixed that Brenda; I don't why they changed it to be honest. If it works, why change it?

  4. Hi Tim,

    You opened your blog with these words;
    "Christianity is not religion, its relationship. Let me say that again; Christianity is not religion, it's relationship!"

    I could not say that better myself. I may add that Religion has been the major cause of many a world conflict. Even we now had to step up national security because of the threat of Muslim terrorists. That is not love, it is hate.

    But to say that Jesus Christ is your best mate is so gloriously true. Religion, no matter which one, can't make that same claim.

    A well written and thought out post.

    1. Hi Frank. If someone thinks that killing people in the name of God is what God wants, and that goes for any religion, they have got the whole wrong end of the stick; God is love, not hate.

      Yes I think Jesus must be our friend after all; there's no place for rituals in friendship, there is just comfort and genuine emotional intimacy.

      Sometimes I write things and plan them well, but others just sort of flow spontaneously; I think the best posts are those from the heart really. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Hey Tim, great post as usual. I shared this on my twitter for other Christian folks to check it out, and others who are just curious about Christianity. This is speaking the truth especially the part where you said how Christians are suppose to be like brothers and sisters but are divided.

    The other day I was in a group, a young adults church group, and we we're discussing tithing, and I was trying to explain the truth to them that we are no longer under old covenant laws, like tithing, we are no longer under the covenant of bondage. If one can give a gift to the church they attend whether it be food clothes a couple of dollars or whatever fine, but we are not commanded to give a tenth of what we make any longer, it's not mandatory or your cursed if you can't pay tithes.

    The lady who leads the group said even though she knows we no longer live under old covenant law's like tithes, she said she attends a church that keeps that tradition among other old covenant laws so she will keep it. That's religion right there what is leading many down the wrong path, following the crowd because it's tradition or because the pastor said it's the right way. I notice whenever I speak in groups I never go to learn anything I always go to clear something up, a misconception taught or something like that, perhaps it is Gods will that the church learn the truth and I hope they do.

    I'm pretty sure many think I'm not a "real" Christian because I'm not a member of a church, I think my heart hasn't been stirred up to become a member because God is protecting me form becoming defiled by the traditions type of mentality which I have seen. I think He wants me to walk in truth and in faith not in traditions of men.
    As usual I love reading your post.

  6. Many thanks Sateigdra; I'm really flattered you like the post enough to share on Twitter, that's really nice of you. Incidentally, I noticed you have written a new post yourself; I'm going to read it after this.

    Anyway, yes traditions of men can often get in the way of a true walk with God; we must correct people firmly and gently. And I think we must also accept that though we might stand out from the crowd because we hold true to what we know is right, sometimes we ourselves might need a little correction too. None of us gets it right all the time. But like you, I tend to stand outside of crowds and I don't just go along with everyone else just because it's convenient, I challenge these things all the time. If our aim is truth, then we might just find some. The world is crying out for the simple plain truth.

  7. Many people claim to be very spiritual but not at all religious. The word "religion" appears in the Scriptures (NT) five times and the word "religious" appears twice(NT). I don't see any where God says its a negative thing to be religious. I do read where "it" (a man's religion)could be in vain.(James 1:26) and also how to have a pure and undefiled religion before God. (James 1:27)

    I would like to think in a humble way that I am perhaps both a spiritual and religiuos person.

    This topic ( Religious vs. Spiritual) would probably make good fodder for a post in the future.

    I very much enjoyed this post on "Christianity"

    1. You're absolutely right; when I talk about 'religion' I mean when it is abused by people for their own ends, but of course many people also claim to be 'spiritual' too, and that can be a big fraud.

      You wrote, quite astutely: 'I don't see any where God says its a negative thing to be religious.' Yes you're right. For me, I kind of bypassed all the denomination stuff, all the going to church, all the possibly religious stuff, and it was, and I say this humbly and truthfully, just me and Jesus! But as you say, yes it is certainly possible to be both religious and spiritual; after all, why not? If Jesus is at the centre of a person's life, then He allows us to be individuals; we're all different after all.

      Thanks for bravely showing me another equally valid point of view. I love your blog by the way!

  8. "For for me to live is Christ ...", Phil 1: 21. That was Paul who knew practical Christianity more than any other. And even he said, "but I pursue ..."

    1. Yes Paul is revered for being totally honest; this was a man who before his conversion was utterly religious, and yet after he simply became the first greatest spokesman for Jesus.