Session 4b - What is Religion? What is Christianity?

What is Religion?

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What is religion?  This video will explain the difference between Christianity and religion.

 

What is Religion? 

Pascal famously wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Human experience bears out the truth of Pascal’s statement in that within every person, no matter the age in which they live, or the culture in which they reside, every person has a vacuum that cannot be filled. We know this to be true because we watch all manner of people indulge in all kinds of activity and behavior trying to find something that will fulfill them.

If we don’t fill the vacuum in us up with God, it’ll fill up with something else.  People sometimes use religion to fill the vacuum that was meant to be filled by God.  So let’s look at the difference between religion and Christianity, law and grace and how they are related.

Religion wants to fix us from the outside in.  God wants to fix us from the inside out by allowing us to experience his divine love and forgiveness.

Religion is about following a set of rules in order for us to get God’s acceptance.  God is about accepting us when we receive, as a gift, his grace – his undeserved, unearned love and favour of God.

Christianity consists of the teachings and way of life made possible by the death and resurrection of Christ and the giving of the Holy Spirit.

Religion and the Law of Moses (found in the first five books of the Bible –  given by God to Moses) are similar in that they both seek to gain merit by observing a set of morals.

Christianity and God’s grace are inseparable as we’ll discover in the following Bible verses.

Great news – we are no longer under the law

Romans 6:14 says,”You are not under law but under grace.”

Like religion, the law is a set of rules to be adhered to. This Bible verse tells us that we no longer have to perform by adhering to a set of rules to gain God’s acceptance and love.

The law was given to Moses

The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17

The purpose of the law was to show us our sin and according to the following Bible verse, no one can be made right with God by following the law.

Romans 2:19-20:”We know that the law’s commands are for those who have the law.  This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God’s judgement, because no one can be made right with God by following the law.  The law only shows us our sin.”

Grace and truth came though Jesus Christ

 “The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17

In the book of Romans we read, “We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us.  He sent his own Son in a human body like ours – except that ours are sinful – and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins.” (Romans 8:3)

God’s grace revealed through the giving of the Holy Spirit

“He (God) makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)

God’s grace is a gift to be received

In the book of Ephesians in the Bible, it says, “It is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.”  (Ephesians 2:8)

God’s grace brings freedom

The Bible says in the book of Romans, “God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins”.  (Romans 3:24)

Hold on to your freedom

“Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don’t ever become slaves of the Law again.” (Galatians 5:1)

It is easy for us to fall from grace and come under the law again.  Using our efforts and energy to perform in order to get God’s acceptance, instead of accepting by faith his acceptance and love.

Learn how you can be truly free by viewing and downloading free this video.

If you’re new to the ‘Living Free’ Series, why not begin with Session One – Part One‘, where we answer the question “How do I find God?”.

Related links to the question, ‘What is religion?’:

http://ydyc.org/what-is-a-stronghold/

http://ydyc.org/how-to-be-spiritual/

http://ydyc.org/about-forgiveness/

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