So, “What is Christianity?”
This is the question that has followed us through the last couple articles, a question that I believe many people are asking. To summarize, here’s what we’ve seen so far:
Real Christianity is:
1)...not by works but by faith.
2)...not by a thin intellectual knowledge of Jesus Christ but by daily trust in Him as Savior.
3)...not by religion, but by a relationship with God.
4)...not ‘fire insurance’ but real repentance.
5)...not ceremonial but spiritual.
6)...not coerced but motivated by desire and delight.
7)...not self-centered but others oriented.
8)...not judgmentalism that looks down on sinners, but shows others mercy.
Here’s where this thread will end, maybe- two more defining marks or characteristics of biblical Christianity.
Real Christianity is:
9)...not satisfied with the pleasures and treasures of this world, but the infinitely greater pleasures and treasures of God
and His eternal kingdom.
This is one of the hardest lessons for American Christians to learn. Many of us have forgotten the world’s greatest saints were those who found their earthly wealth deplorable and distracting. Jesus didn’t promise His followers wealth, riches, luxurious homes, etc. - at least in this world.
No, here’s what He says about how His followers should understand earthly wealth. “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” Luke 9:24-25.
“Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away” 1 Corinthians 7:31.
“You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever” Hebrews 10:34.
Jesus reminds us that where we lay up our treasure, whether on earth or in heaven, there our heart / life / eternal destiny be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
Real Christianity is:
10)...not legalism but all grace. Lots of ‘religious’ people like to make up ‘religious’ rules that God never gave, and then
force others to follow them. This is not good. And it’s not just bad because Jesus never gave the rules- it’s bad because
He never promised to forgive sins or give new life or a home in heaven or any other good thing by doing a list of rules (by
keeping His Law).
In fact, God tells us that the purpose of His Law was not to save us, but to show us how sinful we are! (Romans 3:20).
Christianity is not a mathematical equation that goes something like this; Christ plus my ability to keep God’s commands (stay out of trouble) equals forgiveness of sins and eternal life. No, the only thing God ‘requires’ us to do is to believe (trust) what His Word says about His Son, and believe/trust in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And since believing is not a ‘work’ we do or a rule we obey, we can’t take credit for our faith or salvation - they are gifts from God.
The Apostle Paul said it this way: “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a
gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” Ephesians
2:8-9.
Of course, repentance is a part of faith, just as obedience to God’s Law is as well. Consider this also from Paul:
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes...This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.
As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” Romans 1:16-17.
So, legalism says, “I must do”, whereas grace says, “Jesus did it all for me.”
So that’s what real Christianity is- the way God defines it. And so the logical and spiritual application is to ask ourselves
questions like these: “If I claim to be a Christian, does my life reflect these characteristics? Is it possible I’ve deceived
myself into thinking something I’m not? What areas of my Christian walk need radical change? In what way does my walk
with Christ need to grow and mature? What mature Christian can I ask to help me? If I am a mature Christian, who am I helping to figure out the Christian faith?”
May the Lord bless your pursuit of Him, so that in the end, you might hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
Written by Zach Zajicek
Pastor of First Baptist Church
All verses quoted from the NLT of the Scriptures


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