Our modern society has a dim view of religious beliefs and often tries to label everything of faith into one category. There is a distinction between being religious and being a Christian. The understanding of what those differences are and how they relate to matters of faith are vitally important.
Being religious simply means that a person has placed their faith in something or someone. People can place their faith in many different things. Some place their faith in themselves and their own personal abilities or potential as a human being. Others place their faith in money and the security that possessions can bring. Still more place their faith in the families, friends, people in general, or even the leaders of their nation. Sadly, some even place their faith in the institution of the church or its leaders. The truth is that all of these things can and will fail us.
Our own personal abilities cannot measure up at times. Our possessions can be swept away in a crisis and leave us feeling empty. Our families, friends, and leaders can fail us because they too are human like we are. Our churches have failed us when they have strayed away from the message of scripture to become more acceptable to the world around them.
There could be thousands of examples but the point is this religious activity can leave us empty. Religion by definition of faith is this: a system of beliefs and behaviors needed followed to gain entrance into the afterlife. So what is the difference between all of these things and Christianity? Is Christianity a religion?
In a strict manner of speaking, Christianity is beyond mere religion. It might surprise you but, there is nothing a Christian can do to earn a place in heaven. Good works and human efforts cannot get the job done. This is what makes Christianity so radically different from just being religious. The key is not in religious behavior but in a relationship with the risen savior.
Christianity is so amazingly simple that most churches do nothing but make it complicated. All that is needed to be a Christian is to accept Jesus as savior and follow Him as Lord. Jesus gave His life on the cross to be our savior and He rose again on Easter to be our Lord. Jesus died to offer us life.
Jesus gave Himself to pay the debt that humanity owed for the price of sin. Sin is simply missing the mark and making mistakes. Have you never messed up something in life or made a mistake you wish you could change? Do you know anyone who could say that? We are all in the same boat with this and it is sinking like the Titanic. Jesus has become our lifeboat on the sinking ship we call life. His deepest desire is to rescue you from the power of sin and death. Jesus will not force you to get into His lifeboat, it is your own choice. This choice is one that we all have to make for ourselves.
The difference between being religious and being Christian is simple. Being religious we trust in our own logic and our own thinking. Being Christian is simply placing your trust in Jesus for everything.