Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is “Christ in us,” because Jesus Christ comes into us and dwells in us when we accept Him into our lives. And by Christianity, I mean, establishing a relationship with, and having fellowship with Jesus Christ — that is, in case Christianity means other things to other people.
Jesus Christ did not call His followers Christians nor did His apostles and disciples call themselves that. But in the world today, we are known as Christians and we are proud to be; and our faith in Christ is known as Christianity, because we believe in Jesus Christ. And by coming to Jesus Christ, we receive life. He said to the Pharisees, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40).
Christianity is LIFE, because Jesus Christ is Life and comes to live in us when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. And He told us in the Bible “I come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”
So when you come to Christ, you’ve come to LIFE. And you’ll have life more abundantly. How then did we get from life to religion? Just like the Israelites before us, we took the perfect gift of God and turned it into man-made activities, designed more to gain glory for ourselves than to give glory to God. No wonder the world is getting darker and darker. Religion is not about God. Religion is an attempt to imitate God. But nobody should imitate God for God detests such behavior.
In the Book of Isaiah He says, “I am the first and I am the Last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? …” (Isaiah 44:6-7). And He had decreed ruin for entities that are set up to imitate Him, and for those who mislead innocent people through their deceptive practices. God put us in this world to reign, but the only way to reign is by serving Him. That is why King Solomon said:
“Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12-13). I have finally embraced that truth and the result is abundant life.
Learning gives you knowledge. God gives you wisdom. When both are combined the way they should, you gain understanding. With much knowledge and no wisdom, you are dangerous even to yourself. With wisdom and no knowledge, you are ignorant, but the advantage is that your wisdom tells you when you must get knowledge and helps you to get it. Knowledge by itself can never lead you to wisdom, because wisdom only comes from God and is given only to the humble at heart.
From now on, I am staying right here with our Lord Jesus Christ. If he stirs me left, I will go left. If he stirs me right, I will go right. He has finally shown me who I am supposed to be, and I am thankful to Him for that. My goal is to help anyone who is interested in finding joy in life to find it, as I have found it, by sharing the message of the gospel with them the way it was given to me by our Lord Jesus Christ. Giving the message to others so they can share in the joy of Jesus Christ is a responsibility that all believers have. Here is what the Bible says: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).
“And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ But not all of the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?'”(Romans 10:15-16).
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17). Christ’s goal is to build both the Jews and the Gentiles into one new man, built up together to become a holy temple to the Lord. If you have not reached out to the Jews, you have grounds to cover; and if you have not reached out to the Gentiles, you are trailing on the great commission and need to get started for the end is near.
To make it easier for a non-believer to know Jesus Christ, the question should be,“Do you know that Jesus Christ is the reason you are alive and operational today, and do you know that He died on the cross so you ‘may have life and have it more abundantly?'” Apostle Paul said to the Corinthians, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready for it. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
And he also said: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Anyone new to the gospel is just getting started and is simply an infant in Christ, as apostle Paul described in the passages above. As such, he should be given milk, not solid food, as Paul also stated. It is easier to anyone not knowledgeable about the gospel to understand abundant life than to understand eternal life. Jesus Christ came to give us both.
Getting people started with something they can relate to in their current lives is more effective than starting them out with a deeper spiritual thing as eternal life. Everybody is already living and understands one or two things about life and all of its difficulties: lack; sickness; making bad decisions and facing their consequences; sadness and sorrows and so on. And everyone would like to have an easier time dealing with these difficulties.
As a result, people are more readily interested in finding a life they could manage better, as opposed to discussing issues they do not have the slightest understanding of, nor would, after being witnessed to just once. Most people in the world today are interested in how they can get some relief from life’s difficulties, and they will find it in Christ.
Consider how Jesus Christ treated the Samaritan woman at the well. He asked her for water (everyday life’s issue) and quickly let her know He could give her better water; the kind that could take away her thirst forever. And she immediately asked to receive it because she knew it is better than what she had been getting all her life. And she brought others to Christ. That is the power of the gospel. It is that captivating. And it is only through serving Christ that abundant life comes. And anyone who has abundant life (not life’s excesses) also has eternal life.
It is important for everyone who is called to the gospel of Jesus Christ to stay with the message, and remain humble. The gospel has no equal because God has no equal. The light does not compete with darkness so why would the God of the universe compete with the things He created? What Jesus Christ has given to us is not a religion, but life, therefore, no religion competes with Christ. So we are clearly not in competition with anyone. Our job is to give the message and the Holy Spirit of God will make the message do what it is designed to do. With that understanding, no one Christian is in competition with any other Christian; and no one Christian organization is in competition with any other Christian organization.
From apostle Peter’s message of encouragement to the church about apostle Paul’s writings to the churches, it is clear that Peter, who was made head over his brothers by Jesus Himself, was doing everything in his power to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ, as received and articulated by another apostle, who actually came much later to the calling. Peter wrote:
“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
Apostle Paul also showed the same understanding in his address to the Corinthians when they started fighting over whose style of delivery of the gospel to follow: Paul’s, Apollos’, Cephas’. (1 Corinthians 1,2,3). Anyone who has the Spirit of God readily recognizes messages that come from the Spirit of God, even when spoken by other people. That is why Eli the High Priest immediately recognized the message brought to him by the eleven-year-old Samuel who had to be taught by Eli that it was God who was trying to give Samuel a message. Apostle Paul declared:
“So neither he who plants or he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:7-8).
In paraphrasing, the above declaration may then read: “So neither” the Roman Catholic Church, nor the Apostolic Church, nor the Baptist Church, nor the Episcopal Church, nor the Methodist Church, nor the Lutheran Church, nor the Anglican Church, nor the Church of Christ, … is anything, “but only God, who makes things grow.
“If the people preaching the gospel in all these churches maintain that Christ is the sole object of salvation; and that salvation can only be received though faith in Jesus Christ and the blood He shed on the cross, and in God who raised Him from the dead; they all “have one purpose and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”(1Corinthians 3:7-8). With that understanding, nothing should really stand in the way of all the churches uniting, except the one thing we all deny but is actually the main reason why we cannot all get along: the wealth of the churches. The wealth that is involved in ministry has been the biggest obstacle that prevents the churches from uniting. But it should not, if we separate our ambitions from our service to Jesus Christ. Instead of spending more time and energy promoting our individual brands of the gospel for various reasons, perceived or real, we should focus on jointly promoting the message of the gospel for the advancement of the kingdom of God, just like the apostles and the early disciples of Jesus Christ did.
Let us all remember the following Scripture: “But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:10-13).
“If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).