42 • Christianity is not a Religion—It’s about a Restored Relationship with God
For statistical purposes, Christianity is shown to be one of many religions; but Christianity essentially isn’t a religion. Implied in the word ‘religion’ is that people must do certain things and abstain from other things in order to be accepted by God. In other words, it’s about ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’. In all the religions of the world you will see this. What makes Christianity different is that sinners can do nothing to earn God’s favour. We can do nothing to achieve His acceptance. Jesus Christ came to this earth to do what no other person could or can do: He obtained, exhibited and fulfilled God’s righteousness by a sinless life, satisfied God’s justice, bore the wrath of God on a cross to forgive and remove believers’ guilt and sin, destroyed the power of death, Satan and sin and united believers with God. He did all this so that believers would be accepted by God and be in right standing with Him. God’s anger towards us because of our sin has been removed by Jesus Christ—to this we could not contribute. God has fully accepted believers through Jesus Christ’s righteousness and His sacrifice on a cross. We can now live in a right relationship with God if we believe in Jesus without any contribution on our part! Faith in Jesus is essentially a free gift given to God’s people by God (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Christianity is about having a restored relationship with God. It is about receiving from God. Imagine a relationship with your father, mother, wife or husband that you enjoy, and which is working well. You don’t have to perform well and achieve merits in order to be loved by them. You can relax and enjoy each other’s company without worrying about being at your best. In the same way, God wants a relationship with that works. Your relationship with your Father in heaven is based on unconditional love. That means you don’t have to keep a set of rules and regulations in order to be loved by God (Romans 3:28; Romans 5:8; Romans 9:30-33; Romans 10:2-4).
However, because life is rough at times, there may be times when you want to quit on God and wrongly point fingers at God because of perceived injustice or suffering you may be experiencing. There will also be times of exhilaration, times of joy, of sadness, of disappointment and discipline. Our relationship with God is, in a sense, the same as with people, yet very different. It is more like a father-son relationship. In other words, there will be times of discipline and correction in love (Proverbs 3:11; Hebrews 12:5-8).
God is God and we are merely human beings. He knows everything while we are limited and ignorant. That’s why we can trust Him and believe His words in the Bible, and be assured that He knows best, even if we don’t always understand. Our relationship with God on earth is also like that of a fiancé with her husband to be. It is full of anticipation and excitement, yet the best is still to come! The marriage celebration will be in heaven! And it will last forever! God is calling you to the marriage feast of the Lamb. He has sent out His invitation to you and is waiting to see if you will attend the most glorious time you can imagine (Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 21:9; Ephesians 3:20).
Reality to consider: God disciplines us for our good. He does this because He loves us and knows what is best for us—just as a father or mother will discipline his/her children. If we are without discipline, then we are not genuinely God’s possession or His sons or daughters (Hebrew 12:5-8). Without discipline we would be illegitimate children of God.
Read: Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 3:28; 5:8; 9:30-33; 10:2-4; Proverbs 3:13; Hebrews 12:5-8; Matthew 22:1-14; Rev 21:9; Ephesians 3:20.