With all the religions in the world, what makes Christianity different?

Christianity is not a set of rules that one must follow to gain acceptance or inclusion. The Apostle Paul himself said that we are saved by faith, not by works.

But so many Christians walk around with the mindset today that they must do something or continue to do something to maintain their identity as a Christian.

Think of Christianity more as a relationship, or marriage, if you well. As the Church, we are in fact called the bride of Christ throughout Scripture.

Far from participating in any prescribed ritual or performing numerous tasks to “earn” our worth, membership or salvation, Christians are simply called to a relationship with God. Rote prayers are not a responsibility, but a privilege and a way to communicate with our Father in heaven. And this is an intimate communion based in love, not fear or obligation.

Also, the dynamic of other religions is man reaching out to find God. With Christianity, it’s God reaching out to man. Jesus Christ invites every man to believe in Him and accept His free gift of salvation offered out of love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16, NIV

No compulsion or guilt here.

Many argue that Christianity is not really a religion at all. This is because religion is actually a system made by man that is orchestrated to make him right with God by jumping through the hoops of various rituals, good works and sacrifices.

On the other hand, Christianity is centered on God bringing Himself physically down to the world in the form of Jesus Christ to sacrificially die for our sins – to offer us eternal life. By believing in this miraculous work, we’re saved. Plain and simple.

This leaves little room for hierarchy among men. This is so we can only boast in God – not ourselves. Paul puts this better.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV

So, there’s little left for us to do to make ourselves better in God’s eyes. Out of love and appreciation – not obligation – for what He’s already done for us, we are privileged to share the Good News with those who haven’t heard.

To this end, I don’t want to be known for being religious … but for being in love with my Lord and Savior. It’s a relationship – not a task!

This article was originally posted on Beliefnet.com.

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