Maybe you’ve heard somebody say, "Christianity isn’t a religion it’s a relationship." That sounds nice, but what does it mean?
Religion is a worldview that tells a person what they can do to achieve some spiritual result. For example, Hinduism teaches what a person can do to escape reincarnation by completing three goals. Buddhism’s goal is to achieve nirvana which is possible by following 8 noble truths. Islam teaches that the goal of life is to make it to paradise by pleasing Allah through obedience and right actions.
Here’s why Christianity isn’t the same. According to Christianity, it has nothing to do with what you can do. It’s all about what God did.
Ephesians 2:1-10 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
That’s the difference between religion and a relationship. Religion is all about our performance, but relationship is all about God reaching out and bringing us from spiritual death to life. From changing us from enemies to friends.
Reflect: Which part of Ephesians 2:1-10 is hardest to believe (our sinfulness, God’s mercy, God’s grace, something else)? Why? Which part is the most appealing? Why?
Respond: If Christianity is true, what difference does it make for you?
We look forward to your comments and questions below!