Christianity and Jesus: are they mutually exclusive? That depends. Certainly not, in one sense. Christianity developed because Jesus came and died and rose again. Those who entered into a vital, genuine relationship with Him became known as Christians. As more people were saved, they were added to the twelve and as the church grew, it was identified as people who practiced Christianity. This movement was soon defined as "Christianity." Later on, it took on the look of a "religion." Religion is an attempt on the part of men to try to reach up to God in order to win His approval. This is impossible. True Christianity is God reaching down to lift up fallen men. Therefore, true Christianity is not religion. Nevertheless, corruption of true Christianity has given us the ("Christian?") religion." This is a wide umbrella that covers almost anyone who believes in God and tries to live according to His commandments (another impossibility*). A genuine, "born again," Christian comes to know the difference between religion and real Christianity. However, those who are truly saved can also fall into a trap. Being part of a group that is identified by common beliefs and standards, considered to be Biblically correct, and working in and with this group, we may find that our focus has shifted from Him to the group. If so, we now have a situation in which it is the group and Jesus calling for our commitment. Jesus versus our Christian group. An organized group versus a Person. Serving the group and serving Jesus are not necessarily synonymous. Valid Christianity is when the group is wholly involved in a relationship with Him. It exists for Him. It is to be a channel through which He reveals Himself to a needy world. It exists, not to be an end in itself, but solely to glorify Him. Selah! Keep in mind that Christianity is a way of life, a priceless relationship with God through Jesus. The purpose of the group (local church) is to share in this together with others of like, precious faith. Ron
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection…." (From Philippians 3:10).
*What about God's commandments?" We plan, God willing, to look at this tomorrow.