I stumbled on a blog this morning, by name: Light Her Lamp, and the post I read is this: (click here) from which I quote:
Christianity is a Religion, but more than that, it embodies the heart of God, that He sent His only begotten son just so that you and I can be close to Him (redemption)- and that we can be broken from shackles which bound us in our past.
But we must travel beyond the walls of Religion, we must be the hands and feet, and we must have ears to hear the words God is telling our generation today. This blog is not merely about Religion. We are more than rules and regulations. We are more than Religion.
I beg to differ that CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A RELIGION. I don’t think so. If Christianity is a religion, then we would conclude that whatever God the Father, Jesus the Son and God the Holy Spirit planned for manking is a mere religion? If Christianity is a religion, then God didn’t have to send Jesus, His own Son to establish it. The objective of the plan of salvation that began after man sinned and was cast out of Eden was not to establish a religion.
No, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a way of life.
The Acts of the Apostles document it that the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch. Please note that Jesus never gave his disciples any collective name / title / description, neither did he leave any instruction to that effect. He simply called them “disciples”. All the Pharisees, Sadicees, etc..cees at the time of Jesus never referred to Jesus / His disciples as Christians.
When Jesus was on earth, the focus was on Him – He was the center of attraction. He was the one who won the popularity contest among his disciples. If fact, He almost couldn’t be publicly identified / picked out from the disciples, thats why Judas was recruited to give “the real Jesus” a kiss – so that the right person could be arrested. Jesus was the one who preached the sermons, He was the one who healed the sick and raised the dead, He was the one who fed the hungry, He was the one who performed all the miracles. The Phariceess, Saducees, and all other religious leaders at that time listened to Jesus’ teachings, they knew there was a man named Jesus. And for every little thing that happened amongst the disciples, they came back to Jesus for the next step forward. Nobody bothered about the disciples. Jesus was the focus, not His disciples – not Peter, not James, not John, not even Judas who betrayed him.
And after Jesus went up into Heaven, His disciples were said to have continued “daily in the temple” just like Jesus did; living day in and out, just like Jesus did. Their actions, in-actions, interests, speech, association, physical appearance, spiritual state of mind; whatever attracted their attention, whatever sustained / repelled their interest, everything about their everyday life must have so resembled that of Jesus that the people at Antioch could not call them by any other name. If the disciples have deviated from the Jesus lifestyle, their immediate environment of people won’t have called them Christians.
The citizens at Antioch, after observing the lifestyle of these disciples nicknamed them Christians. I wonder: they could have thought that the name “Christian”, where the word “Christ” was inclusive(the starting point) was the most appropriate description of whatever observations they(‘Antiochites’) gathered about the disciples. The only thing that crossed the mind of the people at Antioch as they observed the disciples was the name “Christ”. The disciples must have talked, walked, preached, healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, lived publicly and privately exactly like Jesus – to be named after Him.
Christianity is not a religion, it is a lifestyle: a lifestyle that is synonymous to that of Jesus; a lifestyle that reminds the world around us of just one man – Jesus; a lifestyle that reminds people of Calvary, the He who was crucified on it and the reason why He died; one that points them to the cross; a lifestyle of love and actions that spell good and favor toward all; a lifestyle of of openness, forgiveness, longsuffering, peace and harmony towards all men. Christianity is a lifestyle that seeks to do the will of God the Father – to obey God rather than men. Christianity is a lifestyle that loves to the end; one that isn’t self serving, one that seeks no revenge to wrong-doers; one that seeks to give without expecting returns – the life of sacrifice, the lifestyle of Jesus.
And is this lifestyle really new? Was it Jesus that started it? No. Several people who lived before Jesus had pleased God with their lives.
- Was Abraham a Christian? No, yet he talked with God, he was called Gods Friend.
- Was Moses a Christian? No, yet God so revealed Himself to him that his(Moses) face shone. In fact, God buried Moses when he died.
- Was Jacob a Christian? No, yet with all his ups and downs in life, he fought with an angel until his name got changed.
- Was Elijah a Christian? No, yet he pleased God so well that God sent one of His chariots to pick him up to Heaven – alive.
- Enoch – he was not, for God took him.
- Was Elisha a Christian, No, yet he had twice of Elijah’s anointing. He didn’t fail to demonstrate “the God of Elijah”.
The many prophets of old were not Christians, yet they had relationships with God that manifested in their everyday life.
All the above, and many more in the Bible had spectacular relationships with God that made God do the extra-ordinary in their lives and through them.
If Christianity is a religion, then it might be no different from the many religions in our present day world where the major aim isn’t making a positive difference in the present, but following a set of rules to pass an examination for eternity. Unfortunately, such people become useless and irrelevant to their immediate environment.
Coming to the new-testament, was Jesus Himself a Christian? No, He was the son of God. He had a relationship with God. He took instructions from God.
Were he disciples Christians, No? they were called Christians because their way of life could be summarised by the words “Jesus the Christ”.
Then I would say that the ultimate goal of everyman should be to have a relationship with God that shows positively in the way we live our lives. But God didn’t leave us in confusion. Without Jesus, people who believe in God would have wandered who they could take after. Which prophet would be the guiding light? Who is the best/greatest among the prophets? We(Christians) would have been asking ourselves who we should take after. Is it Abraham or Moses or Elisha or Daniel? Who exactly should be the focus? But God sent His only Son, Jesus and set Him as the ultimate example for believers to follow.
Consider this: before a true Christian takes an action, he or she would ask: what would Jesus really do in this situation? Whatever Jesus would have done, whatever He could have said, wherever He would have gone to, whatever decision / opinion He would have chosen, whatever stand Jesus would have taken is what a true Christian would do.