Christianity Is Life, Not A Religion

Relevance for the Nagas

In the first place, the purpose of this article has no any intention to attack or quash the validity of other faiths. The author’s intention is to uphold biblical faith which does not belong to a religious practice categorically. Theory and practice or head and heart of Christian faith cannot be seen isolated. Rather, a person who founds his faith in the Bible demonstrates a total personality and not a multicolor reflection.
Christianity as a religion is a grave theological mistake back in history. It is coined as a religion in comparison and contrast with other religions. Faith in God is a relationship as a son relates to his father. Relationship is a bond and attachment of the creatures to the Creator. The term ‘religion’ arises in the absence of faith in God. Religion is a mental and psychological, and imaginary speculation of a supernatural control and sense of security. Therefore, Christianity as a religion is a term given without a proper theological concept.
A person of religion is a dual personality. Religion behaves something good inside a temple, a mosque or a church. But action becomes different once the person comes out of such religious arena and ceremony. People of religion forget the application of what they hear and learn. On the other hand, life and behavior of people who believe in the true God, the Christians, perpetuate demonstration and illustration of the principles and precepts, and value they accept and take in. In other word, they do not compromise with sins and deception of the world, be in politics, business centers, and social and civil societies.

The Synopsis that Christianity is Not a Religion

Christian Faith is Not a Ritual Exercise

Religion is a ritual practice following a prescribed routine. It is a psychological exercise of formalism and ceremony. This process connected with sacrifice and offering in the olden time believing that, somehow, such mechanism would please God. Those of us who once were raised up in a religious background can better understand how a religion was a regulation of ritual practice without an inner experience of the power of God. Rather ceremonial observations were hypnotic procedures.
Once you receive Jesus Christ, your life is different. It is like ‘darkness is gone with a new ray of eternal hope.’ Baptism and Lord Supper and church going are not ritual exercise. They are the steps of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a symbol of new creation, Lord’s supper is a sign and icon of identification with Jesus Christ, and church going is a proof that one belonging to the family of God. Ritualism is a psychological satisfaction but faith in God is life that involves total personality and not in part. The Bible is a practical guide book of man-God relationship.

Christian Faith is Not a Superstition
Religion has a very high percentage of superstition and psychological combat with spiritual warring, namely malevolent spirits. Mechanism of procedures and methods are used to invoke the spirits of an unknown world. Necromancy is a common formula to conjure up the departed souls. In a spirit world, animistic beliefs are psychological and highly superstitious. For instance, tall tress, big rocks, majestic natures, and conspicuous objects are believed to be in control or possessed of spirits. Both benevolent and malevolent spirits are believed to be in existence and are in active operation. Tigers were believed to be religious objects. A person suddenly dies is believed to be an attack of bad spirits. Territorial spirits are blamed when there is occurrence of death caused by cholera and dehydration. Measures are taken for safety or aversion of their attacks. Modern medical science can tell us how people die of superstition in the absence of medical facility.
Of course, the Bible recognizes evil spirits that inflict human world. The Lord Jesus drove them out from human possession, but the next question is ‘where do they go?’ They always exist in close association with human beings. They go to other persons having rooms for them or offices and business points where manipulations, cheating, corruption and deceptions are common norms and prevalent. In the olden days people overweighed the existence and activity of spirits by way of superstitious belief. Thanks be to God for biblical clarity of what we believe today. Because the Truth is revealed.

Christian Faith is Not a Mechanical Formula
Doing for what has been doing is a mechanical repetition. Sunday going is never a mechanical habit because we go there with an urge and a drive to be fueled with new power through the Word. But Sunday can be a mechanical if we don’t mean it. The Bible in hands does not give a meaning if we don’t relate it to our worship and massage we learn. People do not enjoy a mechanical routine. Fear is the center of religion. Fear arises only when a person disobeys God. It is his fear psychosis. The Lord Jesus said: ‘your faith has healed you.’ It means one’s unfaithfulness to God may also bring reverse effect because he does not depend on God.
Christian faith has a purpose and goal based on the Word of God. Love is the center of Christian faith. Because God’s salvation plan was based on His love for the world (John 3:16ff). And His plan is universal. People enjoy their relationship with God once they know its meaning and purpose. A Christian’s journey is not regulated by a prescription. The Word of God is the light to his feet and path (Ps 119:105).

Christian Faith is Not a Mysticism
Faith in Christ is not a magical or mystical search for spiritual answer or satisfaction. Modern spiritual movements such as heresies, cults and occults, New Age Movement or theistic probing are in search of inner emotional hunt for mystery of spiritual satisfaction. Mostly their leaders are once breakaway persons from Christian faith. They went out for a hunt for mystic and shortcut methods of inner solution. Because they failed to understand the Bible and biblical faith.
Christian faith is one that believes Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Jesus said that there is no other name by which people can enter the King of God (Acts 4:12). The Bible also says that many false spirits have gone out into the world to deceive people (1John 4:1). Mysticism is one that such false spirits can use to hypnotize the world.

Christian Faith has No Boundary
Boundary refers to inside and outside of a church or church building, faith and action, theory and practice, head faith and heart faith, mouth and hand, prayer and doing. Intellectual faith never illustrates the conviction of one’s true and biblical faith. In practical term, Christian faith is not dichotomy but it is solidarity. A person lives what he believes and acts according to his faith, doing what is preached in the church, acting what is said in prayer, and followings what Jesus taught. Everywhere is a holy ground, either in church or work place.

Proof of How Christianity is Life
Biblical description

Single Heart: Not external formalism, but the heart of person matters which is the seed of life. Our heart makes decision, whether constructive or subversive. The mouth reveals what is hidden inside the heart (Matt 12:35f; 15:18-20). Our heart is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2Cor 6:16). Jesus assured us that we would see God if we have purity of heart (Matt 5:8). This implies ‘your practical habit and behavior reflect how your inner condition is.’ In Christian faith there is no ‘concession or commission’ of status of people or tribes. All are one in Christ and should bear the same characters of Christ, the Savior. And God knows our heart (Luke 16:15).

Single Allegiance:
Our heart is good enough for indwelling of only one God. Your heart will burst, fracture and rapture if you intend to infiltrate too many things into it. For instance, the man was captivated and enslaved when he allowed legions (many spirits) to compress and occupy his heart (Mark 5:9). An overloaded heart with many things bring confusion and miserable landing. The life of a single heart is like a peaceful river. A single heart makes a difference at home and society. A divisive heart creates disruptive life, family and society. Christian faith is a matter of single allegiance. The Lord Jesus told us to love God with our heart and soul (Matt 22:37). The moment you said ‘Yes’ to Jesus Christ, you marry him, forsaking all others.

Single focus: Christian life is a single journey towards eternal Heaven. It is not a cycle of rebirth (karma doctrine). Our life, of course, will pass through different courses; but the focus is single. The apostle Paul counted all his earthly advantages and benefits as rubbish when he compared them with what he was looking forward to receive when his course of race would be finished (Phil 2:4-17). Decision is made the moment a person accepts Christ. He is like a man, then, traveling in a light of a dark world (John 8:12).

Single Communication: A Christian does not talk to many gods. They communicate with God in and through prayer. And they listen to God through the Bible. We talk to God the way we talk to our human father. Communication is relationship. God listens to His children directly, not a mediatory formula like those introduced during medieval period to liberate people from burning purgatory. The life of a Christian is the index and reflection of how he talks to his God.

Biblical design
The Bible does not give a nomenclature or a denomination for the Christians, regardless any church groups. The Christians are characterized as:
Light and Salt – quality and preservative value of the believers (Matt 5:13,14)
People who come out of the world – separation from old sinful life (2Cor 6:17 cf Is 52:11)
Community of peace – living under the leadership of the Prince of Peace (Is 11:6-9)
Good Samaritan – good deed, servant heart, healing and caring attitude (Luke 10:28)
Followers of the Way - The believers are the followers of the Way, Jesus (Acts 19:23)
Ambassadors of Christ – Christians are termed as the representatives of Christ (2Cor 5:20)

Who are the Christians?
These are the people who accept and practice the teaching of Jesus Christ. These are the people who live a difference of life. A difference means people who walk carefully, doing what they belief, promoting honesty and truthfulness, loving care, faithfulness, cleanliness, justice, hard working to live above survival level, peaceful and nonviolence, peaceful coexistence, value and quality living, and healing.
Jesus Christ did not teach a religion. The apostle Paul had not given us a religious prescription, rather he assured us that there is no legal law for those who follow Jesus Christ (Rom 10:4). No law means ‘Christian living is far above the law.’ For instance, a believer will not wait for collection of his church tithe. His conscience is used by the Holy Spirit to do good for God and to fellow human beings. Such one is a person of social conscience like light and salt. He will do good work and serve people before civil laws are served and even teaching in church. He is proactive in human transformation.
The quality of a Christian is recognized in speech, dealing, action, living, and behavioral habit. He lives what is taught in the church. He does what the Bible says. He is conscious of the presence of God. He loves people the way he loves God. The Lord told us to do to others the way we expect from them (Matt 7:12).
Nagaland will now talk about the baby Jesus Christ as Christmas season approaches us. Christmas shining stars remind us that we should be like them, shining in darkness of human society. Christmas cakes remind us of love and sharing. Christmas decorations symbolize the beauty of Christian life in the world. Christmas carols remind us of a new hope for the recipients of the Gospel. If we always think of the baby Jesus, we will always behave like babies. If our churches think in terms of baby Jesus, they will always behave like children. Jesus grew big, mature, old, strong, served, taught and preached, fed the poor, healed, and was willing to die for salvation of the world. It is time to talk doing big things for God. He commanded us to do likewise, and go to the world to tell others. God expects Christians to rise above childish mindset, to become mature, be healing, telling others, and making a difference in humanity. Because Christianity is a total life and not a partial life.