The Difference Between
Religion and Christianity
There is a great difference between CHURCHIANITY and CHRISTIANITY. Many are GOING TO CHURCH but few are GOING DOWN THE ROAD WHICH LEADS TO LIFE (Matthew 7:13-14). Many name the Name of Christ (2 Tim. 2:19) and claim to be Christians but few understand what a Christian really is. Many are RELIGIOUS but few are RIGHT WITH GOD. May God help us to understand the difference between RELIGION and true CHRISTIANITY as set forth in the Word of God, the Holy Bible.
The following chart may be helpful:
|"Salvation is something I must do. I must somehow earn or gain salvation by the way I live."||"Salvation is something only God can do. Salvation is of the LORD!" (Eph. 2:8-9; Jonah 2:9).|
|Religion is summed up in one word: DO--man trying to DO different things to please God and earn His favor.||Christianity is summed up in one word: DONE--Christ dying on the cross to save sinful man (John 19:30).|
|The religious man is busy "working" (doing good works) in order to be saved.||The saved person is "not working" (Rom. 4:5) but is RESTING upon the finished work of Another.|
|TRYING||TRUSTING (Acts 16:31)|
|A Work to Do which is never done (How can anyone work well enough and hard enough to earn salvation?)||A Word to Believe (1 Pet. 1:25) about a Work that is Done (1 Pet. 1:18-19).|
|Man hoping to save himself||God saving hopeless man (1 Tim. 1:15)|
|RELIGION is man trying to BRING HIMSELF TO GOD (by human effort, good works, ritualism, traditionalism, sacraments, etc.).||CHRISTIANITY is Christ BRINGING US TO GOD on the basis of what He did for us on the cross (1 Peter 3:18).|
|Religion is man trusting his own good works (Titus 3:5).||Salvation is man trusting the good work which the Lord Jesus did on the cross (Rom. 3:22-26).|
|A religious ritual||A real relationship (John 17:3)|
|Following rules||Enjoying life (John 6:47; 10:10).|
|"I must reform my life and turn over a new leaf"||"I must be born again" (John 3:7).|
|Doing Something||Knowing Someone (John 17:3)|
|Man trying to please God in the wrong way (Rom. 8:8--"So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.")||Man truly pleasing God in the only way (Hebrews 11:6--"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.")|
|Seeking to earn God's favor by works||Receiving God's favor by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8 and see Eph. 1:6).|
|"I can work my way to heaven and earn my salvation." (Romans 6:23 teaches that we have earned our way to hell: "the wages of sin is death.")||"I could never live well enough to earn my way to heaven. Christ had to pay the price for my salvation (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).|
|"Salvation is something that a person must earn."||"Salvation is a free gift" (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 4:10).|
|The sinner sees himself as good (Luke 18:11-12).||The sinner sees himself as sinful (Luke 18:13).|
|The religious man compares himself with others (Luke 18:11).||The saved man sees himself as God sees him (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 53:1-3; Rom. 3:10-12).|
|TRUSTING SELF (Luke 18:9)||TRUSTING CHRIST (Eph. 1:12-13)|
|BOASTING IN SELF (Luke 18:11-12)||BOASTING IN THE LORD (1 Cor. 1:29-31; Eph. 2:9)|
|"I have kept the law! I have done that which God has required" (Matthew 19:16-20).||"I have broken the law but I am trusting the One who came into this world to save guilty lawbreakers" (1 Tim. 1:15).|
|Illustration: A religious man trying to earn his way to heaven by works may be likened to a man trying to swim from New York to London by his own efforts and energy and strength. He will never make it!||Illustration: The person who is saved by faith is likened to a man getting on a ship in New York and trusting that ship to bring him safely to London. This man simply rests upon the ship and lets the ship do all the work.|
|The religious man is seeking to establish his own righteousness (Rom. 10:3).||The saved man is satisfied with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).|
|Religion is pictured in Genesis 3 by the fig leaves that Adam and Eve made for themselves--a terrible covering (Gen. 3:7 and see Isaiah 64:6).||Salvation is pictured in Genesis 3 by the coats of skin which God provided by way of the shedding of blood--a perfect covering (Gen. 3:21; Rev. 19:8).|
|CAIN'S RELIGION--"I bring to God the labour of my own hands" (Gen. 4:3).||ABEL'S FAITH--"I bring to God a blood sacrifice. An innocent substitute must die to save me" (Gen. 4:4).|
|Hoping to be saved by good works (a false hope)||Saved unto good works by God's grace (Eph. 2:10).|
|Religion teaches that good works are the cause of salvation.||The Bible teaches that good works are the result of salvation.|
|Religion says, "Good works are those things that a person does to be saved."||The Bible says, "Good works are those things that a saved person does" (James 2:14-26).|
|"Christ is my Example and Teacher. I try to follow Him and live as He lived."||Christ is my Saviour and Substitute. I am trusting Him and only Him to save me" (Luke 23:40-43).|
|"I hope I will be saved."
"I think I will be saved."
"I feel that I will be saved, maybe."
|"I KNOW I am saved right now" (1 John 5:13-"These things have I written unto you that believe on to name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life").|
How Can I Help A Religious Person?
The religious person is depending upon his own good works, his own religious deeds, his own righteous acts and his own ability to keep the law. The best way to help such a person is to destroy his foundation.
1) SHOW HIM HE IS SICK.
In Luke 5:31-32 Jesus spoke to a group of self-righteous, religious people who did not think they were sinful. He reminded them that a HEALTHY PERSON does not need a P_________________ (verse 31) or a doctor! So also, a RIGHTEOUS PERSON does not need a SAVIOUR. Righteous people do not need Christ! What kind of people did Jesus come to save (1 Timothy 1:15)? _________________ What kind of people did Jesus come to seek and to save (Luke 19:10)?
The self-righteous person needs to understand that until he realizes that he is a sinner, no one can really help him, not even Christ Jesus the Saviour! You can't help a person who does not think he needs help!
2) SHOW HIM HE NEEDS A SAVIOUR.
Read Galatians 2:21: “If righteousness come by the _______ (by my own righteous living and trying to live by God's rules), then Christ died in vain (His death was for no reason at all, it was unnecessary, it was a waste!). In other words, if a person can become righteous by keeping the law, then why did Christ have to die? If a person can be saved some other way, then there is no need for the cross or for the Christ who died on the cross!
The self-righteous person needs to see that Christ did not die in vain, but CHRIST DIED FOR HIM--a lost, self-righteous sinner!
3) SHOW HIM HE IS A LAWBREAKER.
Read Matthew 19:16-20. Did this rich man
think that he had kept God's law? ____ Jesus had to destroy this man's
foundation. What is the greatest law of all (Matthew 22:36-37)?
Did this man love God with all his heart or was there something that he loved more (Matthew 19:21-22)? __________________________________ Was he really a lawkeeper or was he a lawbreaker? ______________________
4) SHOW HIM HE IS AN UNBELIEVER.
In Matthew 19:21, did Jesus promise the rich man that he would have treasure? _____ Are these heavenly treasures better than the earthly treasures that the rich man already had? _____ Did the rich man believe Christ's promise (Matthew 19:21-22)? _____ He wanted to hang on to his “great possessions” and he did not believe that Christ really had GREATER POSSESSIONS! He had a wicked heart of unbelief!
Religious and self-righteous people need to see that they do not really believe what God says. The self-righteous person says, “I see myself as righteous.” God says, “I see you as unrighteous” (Romans 3:10). The religious person needs to come to the place where he can say, “I'm wrong and God is right! I need to be saved!” Until we see ourselves as God sees us, there is no hope for us.
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Now consider the man or woman who finds his or her righteousness only in Christ:
No one can destroy his foundation! His foundation is rock solid (1 Cor. 3:11)! "On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!"