Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is Christianity a Religion? - May 28, 2011

1 John 4 (New International Version)
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

There are alot of beliefs these days that masquerade as "religions". If you were to research a count of religions, you would find that there are 20 major religions and hundreds and even thousands of belief and spiritual systems called religions. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a religion can be "the service or worship of God or the supernatural; a commitment or devotion to rligious faith or observence; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs and practices; a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor or faith".

Many believe that Christianity is a religion, but I would beg to differ. Yes, the observance of Christianity may meet the definition of a religion as defined above, but true Christianity, the faith that Jesus Christ and His closest followers believed in is not a religion. It is a relationship, an intimate union between God and His people, that is found only in the acceptance of, and the surrender to the gift that God has provided in Jesus. God redeemed His people through the work of Jesus on the cross, and them proved that Jesus was God by raising Him from the dead, and ascending into Heaven, where He waits for us to join Him.

We can only have a relationship with God if we believe this, and when we do, the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, resides with us and gives us knowledge about God. The Spirit gives us the intimacy and comfort that is supplied by God. Sounds a bit complicated, but John makes it simple in the text above when he says, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

That should make it pretty easy, because any belief that denies Jesus as the Savior of the world is not from God. If you believe something else, why not give Jesus as chance? Pick up a Bible, pray for God to give you wisdom and discernment, and study about the One who did many wonderous things that had controlled the Universe; read about the One who died for your sins; and read about the One who stepped out of the tomb and into Heaven. It is a story that everyone sometime in their life will have to believe or reject. Make sure you put in the effort to make an informed decision.

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