I get it, really I do. Religion has received a bad rap over the years, and it is no head -scratcher as to why many Christians today want to distance themselves from that word. After all, the foundation of our faith rests in our relationship with God. Christ came to restore the relationship between God and mankind. There have been bloody wars, hatred, bitterness—even genocide in the name of some religion. But there has also been many good things done in the name of religion. There is, however, more to biblical Christianity than just having a relationship with God. Jesus is the best of friends any soul can have. But God is not just a bosom buddy. He is holy and He is to be worshiped.
It’s our goal here to understand what a Christian’s response to the word religion should be. As always, we need to understand what God has to say. First, let’s back up the truck and make sure we’re all on the same page in our understanding of the word itself.
Here’s what automatically pops up if you ask Google to define it.
- the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
- a particular system of faith and worship.
- a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.
I like aspects of all three of these.
(1) The God of the bible is sovereign. Meaning, that He is the “controllong power” of the universe, and He is a “personal God”. Personal, is the crux of relationship. We become personal with Him. He has always been reaching out to us.
(2) We are saved by grace through “faith,” and we “worship” God. I would not call it a system, because of the freedoms we have in Christ. But He has given us the way we are to worship Him: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV The bible, through Apostle Paul gives us more details of how we are to carry out the gathering or “ekklesia” of believers to worship God, as one body, with Christ as our head.
(3) Yes, this one also tracks. We are to pursue God and be fervently interested in Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We are to make our relationship with Him the most important one in our lives. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” Matt. 6:33
Hmm, sounds like a religion to me, at least by Google’s definition. Now there are more in-depth definitions for “religion” than these. And I had fully intended to continue further in this discussion in this one post. But I sense God leading me to offer smaller bites. Hopefully we can pick this up again and delve deeper into this phenomenon of our fear of the word: RELIGION, in a later post. I do, however, want to offer my answer to the title of this post.
As to the statement in the image: “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship”… If something is not completely true, it is false. So I say false.
Biblical Christianity is both a religion AND a relationship.
Please comment and offer your perspective, if you feel led to do so. God bless you all!