The world has lumped many “religions” into the same bin as Christianity. Many people do not know the difference in Christianity, and “religion”. Christianity is a label that is loosely applied, and widely defined. It has but one true defininition.
The Atheist or non believer usually has a poor, faulty, or just downright incorrect definition of what a Christian is. It cannot be tied to a book, or lumped with other belief systems. It is far removed. It is diametrically opposed to all others.
A Christian follows no religion. It is not a religion. It is a faith. A belief. “religion” requires rites, rituals, ceremonies, “tithes” or good works. None of these are required of a Christian. A believer’s good deeds they are just a mere extension of his belief. There are no idols, mosques, or rosaries required. Understanding “religion” is the key to understanding Christianity, the opposite of “religion”, and what a Christian is.
A Christian has no required rituals or ceremonies, nor tithes or required works for salvation. You cannot justify yourself , or impress God with the fruits of his own creation. It’s jist not possible. The only thing a man owns that is not God’s is his faith.
All a man has to give to God for salvation is his faith. It’s that simple.
“Religion” requires behaviours and good works from a sense of obligation, or by compulsion, anxiety and fear, while a Christian’s behaviour is driven by love and gratitude for the one who saved him, and gave him eternal life, Jesus Christ.
A Christians behaviours are motivated by a DESIRE to do good, and love and gratitude, not compulsion, or fear of wrath. This is a primary difference in the Christian and “religion”.
Indeed, many believer’s keep themselves under the yoke of “religion”, but it is only from ignorance, and their deeds, good or bad, have nothing to do with their salvation.
Christians don’t live out of a book. They live out of a faith in Jesus Christ, as the author and finisher of their faith. We don’t follow a dead prophet, or a dead founding father. We worship a living Lord. A man who predicted his own death, and said he would raise himself from the dead after three days. He did just that, and now, He sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Moreover, Jesus promises to also resurrect those who follow him. (John 11:26).
By definition, a Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ. Not a follower of the Torah, or the Old Testament, or Moses, or John, or Peter, or but the man Jesus Christ. Jesus is as real as Abraham Lincoln. But Lincoln is dead, Jesus lives.
Leading atheists will not debate Jesus lived, and walked the earth 2000 yrs ago. Jesus gave many revelations to man throughout our history. His Revelation to the Apostle Paul, in Paul’s epistles, are our instructions for this present age of grace until Jesus gathers us unto himself at the rapture of the church. Jesus also gave revelation to others for those who come after us, and after the Rapture of the church. Most of this is found in the book of Revelation.
Anyone can learn about Jesus by reading a Bible. The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John give a snapshot of his life, and of his character, as well as his crucifixion, and resurrection from the dead. Jesus name is instantly recognized all over the world, in any location, in any language, by any people.
In another book, the Koran, Jesus is mentioned as sinless, perfect, a miracle worker, and resurrected by God. Even Mohammed testified to the character of the Man Jesus Christ.
The Christian has verifiable evidence of his belief system. He has an intelligent belief. He has documentation. He has the historical record. He has the historical record, the Holy Bible, and the Catholic Bible all serving as independent verifiers of the man Jesus Christ. Many atheists call the Bible a “fairy tale”. Nothing is further from the truth. The Bible is the most verifiably accurate book ever written. To prove the Bible wrong, one would need to discredit the testimony of at least 14 men. In 2000 years, nothing has been charged against the authors of the New Testament books of the Bible. In a courtroom, it would be accepted as fact. There is no reason not to accept it as such.
The Christian has his salvation in the man Jesus, and his work, not his own, or the good works of his hands. He is justified by his faith and acceptance of the work of Jesus on his behalf, not anything he can do, has done, or will do on his own behalf. (Titus 3:5). The simplicity of the Christian’s salvation is profound to “religious” people.
The Christian believes in miracles. Jesus was resurrected from the dead after three days. To this day, his resurrection is celebrated each week, on Sundays, and in the spring, or “Resurrection Day”. In the words of John Lennox. “The Christian believes in miracles by all means… The Christian believes Jesus came back from the dead after three days….so I would say Jesus turning water into wine is a mere triviality compared to this., yes, the Christian believes in miracles”. The Apostle Paul bet the farm on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says in 1 Cor 15:17 “And if Christ be not risen, your faith is in vain (a waste of time) and we are still in our sins.” The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of Christianity. Our faith does not rest in a book, or in the accuracy of a book. It rests on a dead man coming back to life after three days. This is preposterous to an atheist, or an unbeliever. To admit a dead man has that much power over death opens the door to admitting that one may be accountable to such a man. Many people find this dichotomy unappealing at best, and choose to dismiss and deny the resurrection. The Christian’s Apostle, Paul, bet the farm on the resurrection. “If Christ not be risen, we are still in our sins, and our faith is in vain”.
Jesus taught peace, love, longsuffering. He taught to love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you. Overcome evil with good. These were revolutionary thoughts in his day, and even 2000 years later, still defy human logic.
All men are forgotten by time. All rulers die and go to their grave. Their names carved in stone, forgotten by the next generation. No one fights for them. No one remembers them. But no one has forgotten Jesus. Napoleon himself was convinced of the Divinity of Jesus because of his power over the human heart, and the fact that in 1900 yrs, the world had not forgotten Jesus, and millions would die for him “at this hour”. Napoleon could find no comparison to Jesus. No man, no ruler, no conquerer ever built an empire, which still stands today, like Jesus did. On LOVE.
Jesus said “ye believe in God, believe ye also in me.” and “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh to the father, but by me”(John 14:6). Jesus is the only man who ever made this claim. Jesus is the only man who ever died, and came back from the dead to prove his testimony, and his power, and his love. If you are reading this, and don’t know Jesus, you can know him right now. There is no rite, no ritual, no ceremony. No public declaration is required. All that is required is your permission. Permission for Jesus to come into your heart, and make you a new creature. He will not come uninvited. He forces himself upon no one, Thats not love. Liberty is love, and Jesus gives you the liberty to decide. All he asks for is your heart. He will take care of the rest. Simply pray by faith, believing that Jesus died for your sins, and rose from the dead three days later for your justification. He will send the Holy Spirit to abide in your heart forever.
Your sins were forgiven 2000 yrs ago, your salvation comes from accepting this gift, on faith, in His finished work at the cross. Jesus paid for your sins, past present and future. Simply accepting this free gift will assure you of salvation and eternal life.
You do not have to be a Bible expert, or understand it all to be saved. Simply giving your heart to Jesus will assure you of heaven, and eternal life.