Disclaimer: This is for edifying the Body. If you see fault or flaw feel free to share.
Far too often Christianity is inaccurately categorized and ultimately unequally yoked as a religion. My aim is to share with you today a few key points which separate Christianity as not a religion yet a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior. I will accompany each point with scriptural evidence as to separate it from being merely my perspective.
Dictionary.com defines religion as follows:
1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
another definition states:
Religion is the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or in general a set of beliefs explaining the existence of and giving meaning to the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
Notice first and foremost the little g in god or gods. This suggests a common noun which by definition is not referring to a specific noun. Common nouns allow no specificity as to what god the author is speaking of. Therefore within the definition of religion there is room to deny the true and living God, making religion in and of itself a false avenue to pursuing our Lord. Also notice nowhere in the mentioned definitions does it detail the necessity for a personal interaction with God yet mentions rituals, observances, devotionals, or traditions. This inherently separates Christianity as biblically defined because salvation is not found in the works of man. Works are a reflection of salvation and not the other way around. I digress. Let us now look at the definition of relationship , specifically intimate relationship, and how it pertains to Christianity.
An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. It can be defined by these characteristics: enduring behavioral interdependence, repeated interactions, emotional attachment, and need fulfillment. Now what makes this definition quite relevant is that it is exactly our interaction with Christ.
Relationship with Christ:
Our role in our relationship with Christ is mirrored through the institution of marriage(Ephesians 5:22-33). You see, mankind is spiritually feminine by nature and God is masculine. As is annotated scripturally the man is the spiritual leader of the household. He is the provider. He is the strength. The woman of the household is submissive, humble, obedient, faithful, and virtuous. Christ is our husband and we His bride. this goes for man, woman, boy, or girl. We are dependent upon Christ to provide for our needs. We find our comfort and rest in Him. In Him we seek refuge. To Christ we are submissive, obedient, faithful, and virtuous. Though He is not dependent upon us our relationship can be hindered by our own hands. If we are in Christ then we begin to walk in the light,but if we partake in darkness then we don't share in fellowship with Christ as He knows no darkness. The mutual impact between us and Christ is that as loving king He offers us freedom but by our own doing we can deny that freedom and remain in bondage. A keyword above was enduring behavioral interdependence. Which means to stay in our marriage with Christ He gives us the strength to endure by the power of the Holy Spirit. Endurance ... this brings me to my next point.
A healthy relationship is sustained by repeated interaction(Matthew 24:13). Let's use an analogy. If you were in a long distance relationship and you and your significant other made no calls, letters, emails, text messages, social network interactions, etc. wouldn't your relationship suffer? Would you not be looked at as less committed? The same goes with our relationship with Christ. In order to maintain a healthy relationship we must have repeated interaction.We must endure. We must remain constant in prayer, study of the word, hearkening to God's voice and commands, and be diligent in seeking His face. We must die to ourselves daily as we would in a healthy relationship by going above what makes us comfortable and seeking to please our Lord.Through Him we persevere and overcome.
You can NOT be a true Christian and not be head-over-heels in love with Yeshua. When you hear Jesus' name your heart just has to melt. You just can't be saved and not love your Savior. It just doesn't work. If the love of Christ is in you it will reflect in all of your relationships and interactions with others. You will pour love on them like you never thought possible(1 John 3:16-20). If you love Christ then the love of your neighbor is in you as well. The two go hand-in-hand.
The most powerful aspect of this in Christ applies to the position Christ holds within the hearts of those who love Him. Christ is our living water in Him we have no thirst.(John 4:14) He is our bread in Him we have no hunger(John 6:51-59). He is the life breathed into our lungs, the very oxygen which sustains us. This is the essence of our needs being met eternally in Him. He provides for our physical needs though we need clothing and food, we seek Him and His kingdom first, for we know according to His word that these things will be added unto us(Matthew 6:33). But our love for Him is such a love that He is ultimately the fulfillment of our needs. If we went without a drop of liquid. His presence would cool our tongue. If we Had no morsel of food, his love would fill our bellies. This is the quality of a relationship we have in Christ that He is our need.
Religion is defined by its observances, traditions, rituals, etc. It is a set of beliefs and works that govern our interaction and defines our moral position. Religiosity provides no rest for its weary who seek salvation by their works. Yet Christ saves us while our works bear no fruit. He regenerates us and reproduces us as fruit bearing trees planted on good ground with a firm Rock as our foundation. It is in Christ that we have a personal relationship which defines us or rather refines and redefines us. It is by the enrichment and endowment of the Holy Spirit that good works are produced in us and through us as a result of our relationship with Christ and the work completed on the cross. Am I saying that there is not a biblical foundation for certain observances or functions, or church services? Not at all. Not in the least bit. I am saying that without a relationship with Christ your religion is in vain.(Isaiah 1:11-18)
P.S. I don't know what Christ sees in me. I make an ugly bride. Lol