Christianity and Religion; is there a difference?

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Answers to Bible Questions

Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible

(Q)  Christianity and Religion; is there a difference?

 

(A)  YES, there is a Big difference between “Christianity” and “Religion”! Christianity and Religion do not mix, they are the exact opposite of each other.

 God hates Religion because it rejects the finished work of Christ Jesus at Calvary who paid for the forgiveness of all of our sins strictly by grace through Faith alone, with no works of any kind. Ephesians 2: 8-9: 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 Religion teaches that man needs works along with Faith in Christ to be justified before God. Today, our justification before God does not come by law keeping or works, but again we are justified only by Faith or Belief in what Christ did for us; not by anything we do to please Him. Galatians 2: 21:  21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

 Here at Grace Bible Times we strive to teach the truth about God’s Word the Holy Bible. We do not seek to please men, but God: Galatians 1: 10: 10For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. While we want to please God, we are trying not to offend anyone who reads these articles, but we want to always be honest and truthful in what we teach.

Christianity is a relationship with Christ Jesus; religion rests its essence in the efforts of man. Christianity is not a religion, and never will be. Neither can religion be Christianity; they cannot co-exist together.

Most of our churches today are having a lot of religious activity such as sponsoring things like pizza parties, sports  events, picnics, walking tracts, musical entertainment and all kinds of physical activities to attract people to come to their particular denomination. But what happens when they come to church? Do they teach Christianity or religion?

Christianity teaches that all are sinners before God,(EVERYONE).Romans 3: 9-12,23:  9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

What happens to the soul that sins?  Ezekiel 18: 4    4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. John 8: 24: 24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. When the Bible says that the soul that sinneth it shall die, it means spiritual death, separation from God for all eternity in the lake of fire. This is the fate of all who die in their sins, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. However God has provided the one and only answer to this problem. Romans 6: 23:  23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So God says anyone can have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This eternal life is with God forever in Heaven, and it is a completely free gift from God just by believing what Christ did at Calvary on your behalf, nothing else, no works.

But what does religion teach? Religion says you need to do your part to help secure your Salvation by doing good works that are pleasing to God.

Religion never gets a person totally lost. It holds out the false hope to him that there is something religious that he can do to rectify his ruin. But “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.?” And religion never gets anyone completely saved, because religion has no Savior! At best, it has only people who are in the flesh, trying to help other people who are in the flesh. The Bible sets forth only two kinds of people: the completely saved and the totally lost. But the Bible has a Savior! It is a book that is all about a Savior. Believe it and be saved!

“And this is life eternal, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”? Nicodemus, in his “tete- a-tete” (a private conversation) with Christ in John chapter three, seemed to be a nice enough guy. Tradition tells us that he was, and he had religion coming out of his ears. He didn’t have a relationship, though. Just religion. He didn’t know God, or he would have recognized God’s Son!” His first birth left him spiritually dead. He needed a second birth, one that could impart spiritual life to him – eternal, never-perishing life.’ Because “That which [has been] born of the flesh [continues to be] flesh,” we have to be born of the Spirit! Because “that which [has been] born of the Spirit [continues to be] spirit,” we are then “imperishable.” We cannot be snatched from the grasp of the Father and the Son!”

Human logic has never led a soul to God.9 It cannot! Only the gospel can be the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1: 16-17:  16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11: 6:  6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Religion cannot give deep and abiding peace. Religion fosters doubt. Religion keeps its adherents in fear by teaching that one can never, in this life, be fully and finally saved and sure of it. I remember the preacher who told me that he had heard me say that since we didn’t get salvation by being good, we couldn’t lose it by being bad. He said that the whole book of Romans came together in  his head that day, and for the first time in his life, he “pressed [his] pillow in peace” that night.

Religion is only successful if lording it over another person’s faith and taking his time, energy, and money is viewed as success.

Religion is a total failure in bringing us to the Savior and filling us with  the blessed assurance that only God and His grace can give.

Religion does not lead us near to God; it builds a wall of separation between us. It is an apron of fig leaves, a patch of woods to hide in, an escape from  Calvary. It will keep you from God, and out of Heaven!

Religion is the power of fear from without; salvation is the power of Christ from within!

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  Marvelously simple! Magnificently profound! A child can believe it in a New York minute. A scholar can study it profitably for a lifetime. God has made simple what man makes complicated.

The woman at the well in John chapter four is told that one drink of the water that Christ supplies brings complete, instant, and eternal salvation. One drink from Christ puts a fountain of water within us that never runs dry. It flows through time into eternity!” Have you come to Christ and had one drink of eternal life? If you have, you will never need another! If you have, you understand the difference between drinking from Jacob’s well in Samaria, or the well in Colchester, and drinking eternal life from Christ! Religion cannot slake our thirst either. Only Christ can – and He does!

Marx said that “Religion is the “opiate” (a drug that can induce sleep, or cause dullness or inaction) of the people.” Christ is not religion. He is relationship! Marxism and atheism are religions, opiates. Christ is not an opiate or any other drug. He is life! Eternal life! When men make a religion of our Lord, they make Him a substitute Christ, an antichrist. You can’t be a serious student, disciple, or follower of Christ and think for one minute that He ever intended that men should turn Him into traditions, rituals, sacraments, or religion. He is God! And He enters the believing sinner just as certainly, and more suddenly, than a cup of cold water.

Evangelicalism has fallen into the same pit that devoured the major and most of the minor denominations, the pit of substituting the heresy that is religion for the miracle of the new birth. Today’s evangelical has joined traditionalists, formalists, liturgicalists, sacramentarians, liberals, and modernists in rejecting the supernatural activity on the part of God that takes place every time a sinner comes to the Savior!

Your new birth was not just another old birth! Nicodemus asked Christ if a man could enter his mother’s womb a second time. Nick was astounded when Christ dismissed his religion as an avenue to God and a doorway to eternal life. All his life he had been trusting his religion to get him into the Kingdom of God. Could this be the Messiah, and was He saying that Nicodemus needed a fresh start, a new page to write on, a second chance? No! Christ was saying that he needed something infinitely greater than that. He needed the greatest miracle possible to man in all of eternity! He needed another birth all right, but it had to be a new and different birth, not a repeat of the first birth that had left him subject to condemnation. He needed a divinely originated birth that would put him beyond the reach of condemnation forever!

This new birth or Salvation is by grace through faith plus nothing, because believing is the only thing that a person can do without doing anything.” Your new birth is the ultimate expression of grace. You didn’t have any more to do with your second birth than you did with your first birth! God and His grace made it possible for you to desire and to choose salvation. The instant that you made your choice by believing, the miracle of new life through new birth took place in your experience. The birth from above is God’s gracious response to man’s non-meritorious faith.

“That which [has been born] of the Spirit [continues to be] spirit.” Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 1: 1-4  to find out how to receive that new birth:  1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: BELIEVE and bingo; you have been born from above; a new spiritual birth which will someday take you into the very presence of God in Heaven, forever and ever where you will experience complete peace, joy, love, contentment, great accomplishments and all that is good and right for all eternity.

Religious men will have you work and fear and pay for your salvation, stop doing bad things and start doing good things and pay for the mistakes and on and on.

None of this can save your soul. This is fear motivation that makes you obey or follow and give money to false teachers. These teachings come from the Jewish portion of the Bible.

Others will claim they have miracle power and it is your fault, or you’re not a believer if you don’t get healed in their meetings. But this is another example of false teachers trying to claim the miracle power that God promised to Israel. Christians are never promised miracle powers on demand.

Christianity is about belief. Christianity is cerebral. A belief based on logical thinking and understanding of what God wants from sinners now – today in this Age of grace.

On the other hand, Christianity is out of this world. Christians are saints and citizens of heaven. Right now! This is a higher calling. It has nothing to do with family, color, race, sex or denomination or country. Christianity is individual sinners coming to God through Jesus Who is in heaven at God’s side. Simply believing what God provided; this is faith. Nothing mysterious.

 True Christians have a passport and green card – a gift from God – by believing – not of fear, or hope or works or payment or punishment. But for no good reason – except God loves sinners – believe it and it’s yours – don’t believe it? God can’t help you. You have free will. God won’t force you to believe. Trying to make it on your own produces fear and frustration and uncertainty.

The song ‘Amazing Grace’ comes from the author’s understanding he did not deserve going to heaven, but no longer feared going to hell. God provides love and acceptance. Faith has no fear. If you don’t have peace between you and God, callout to Him to open your understanding so you can believe His love. Believe Jesus died for your sins too. You may be worse than some and better than other humans, but any bit of sin is spiritual poison and a terminal spiritual disease.

You were born with it. That wasn’t your fault. But you don’t have to live with it. True Christianity starts at a moment in time (you are born spiritually by God’s doing) when you stop trying to be right with God and accept His forgiveness. Jesus paid it all. He really died with your sin on Him. He was really buried. And then Jesus came back to life and He is the one mediator between God and men – He is still a man;He is still God.He still loves and saves anyone.

But you do not have to ask for forgiveness. NO. Don’t insult Him by asking. Forgiveness has already been accomplished by Jesus on the cross, almost 2,000 years ago. All you must do is believe God wants to forgive you, too.

I know this is not easy for someone who was programmed in a religion, especially religion full of works, magic prayers, spiritual pills and fear such as do I belong to the right church.

There is an unseen (spiritual) war going on for the hearts and souls of men. God offers love and forgiveness. Satan is very religious and has people doing things out of fear. But God is not asking for religion or good works to be right with Him. Good works happen naturally after you believe.

A baby does not walk if it has not been born. You’re not a Christian until you understand you have been forgiven. Believing this is how you become spiritual; you must be born of this spiritual thought. Stop trying to do anything good and stop trying to stop doing bad things to become OK with God, because none of this will make you right with God. Let God create a new you.

Relax. Believe in God’s undeserved love and forgiveness. This is the Age of grace. You don’t earn God’s love today. All God wants is faith, which is believing Jesus gave up His life on the cross for YOU.

In the past, when God wanted good works and repentance, you had to do what God asked, to be right with Him. But that Jewish age of Law and works is over.  ( See my article about dispensationalism )

Most churches today teach that old gospel of Jewish works and fear in today’s Christian age, when you no longer have to become a Jew to please God. This is why you are so confused and frustrated and full of fear trying to earn God’s love when He ALREADY gave it to you. It was unearned, a free gift (Rom. 5:15-21:  15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.  16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.  17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.  18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  19For as by one man’s disobedience( Adam ) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ ) shall many be made righteous.  20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:   21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

All God asks for is faith in Christ. Faith only means “Getting It” mentally. Everyone has enough faith. God is patiently waiting for you to believe He loves and forgave you. Don’t ask for forgiveness.

Lose all the religious ‘requirements’ nonsense and fear, and focus on the cross. God is waiting for you there. Jesus died for your sins. Let God save you, too. I pray your new life may begin now.

Forget religion and become a Christian!

Maranatha ( Lord come )

John

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