<<religion based on the practices of Jesus Christ>>

This is the world’s largest religion centred on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, God’s son who became a man, died for the sins of the world, and
wants a personal relationship with each person. Thus the term describes the beliefs and practices of followers of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is foremost a love relationship with God, through Jesus, not the adherence to rituals or rules, although God has laid down special commands that all humanity should live.  Our love (which is the most precious thing we can give in any relationship) can subtlety shift from being

The challenge of Christianity is to live out what we believe with integrity

a vibrant and passionate relationship with the Saviour to a system of cold regulations, from reality to a ritual, from a joy and delight to duty. We need a clear and accurate understanding of God as our loving Father who accepts us as His children, created in His image and declared righteous by Him because of our faith in Christ.  Believing this and living accordingly will result in a daily experience and growth in practical Christianity. When we take our eyes off our identity in Christ, trying to produce in our daily experience the acceptance God has already extended to us, we’ll struggle. We don’t follow Him to be loved; we are loved, so we follow Him. The key is in believing what is already true about us, and living the life He intended for us to live.

The resurrection of Jesus is a vital key and non-negotiable truth of the Christian faith and this fact is emphasized numerous times in Scripture (Act 2:24,32, 3:15,26, 4:10, 5:30…).  Christianity points to an empty tomb for although Christ died He was raised again by the power of God and seen alive on various occasions before ascending to heaven (Mk 16:19; Lk 24:1-7; Act 1:3, 13:31). The resurrection demonstrates His supernatural power and distinguishes Christianity from all other religions that can only show where their leader’s body is buried.

Christianity begins in the human heart and should spread outwards, affecting and bringing wholeness to each area of the personality as the devastation of sin is addressed and cleansed by the blood of Christ – that is a radical change. The various manmade religions of the world are unable to deal with the inner motives and attitudes of their devotees as they try to make them into something they are not  by doing good works to gain entrance into a better ‘hereafter’ life. Such activity is only a veneer. In contrast, as Christian’s our lives are based upon faith in God’s ability to change us – we are to live up to what, by the grace of God we are. Although works (our efforts) should be a by-product; we don’t serve God to gain His acceptance, rather we are accepted and so we serve God (Eph 2:8-10).  Growth in godly character will result in further response to the love extended to us by God, with our love for others, doing what Christ would do, being a hallmark (Mk 12:31; Lk 6:31; Jn 13:34,35, 15:12,17).

Jesus life of compassion and justice is the primary model and inspiration for the Christian lifestyle.

While there are principles to live by, Christianity is not a self-improvement club, instructing people what they should (or should not) do, but rather a lifestyle typified by humble reliance on Him and co-operation in loving obedience. Our outer life will naturally reflect Him as our inner life is brought under His control with the indwelling Holy Spirit giving us

Relationship not rules distinguishes Christianity – do I exemplify this?

the power to live it. Instead of being content with your present experience in God desire a closer relationship with Him to make your life count for His Kingdom, for “Those that know their God will be strong and do great things” (Dan 11:32).

However, the early church leaders were faced with some major challenges about the lifestyle and customs that were intertwined in the Gentile culture, when these non-Jewish believers joined the church. The apostles gave direction in some key areas, relevant to that time in history: do not eat food sacrificed to idols, animal blood or meat of strangled (un-bled) animals and sexual immorality (Act 15:20,29). While there would be other actions inappropriate to believers to continue to practice these were considered key issues of the day and the directive was “Not to make it difficult or burden you with anything beyond these requirements” (Act 15:19,28).           

The Gentile believers were not required to conform to the Jewish law (eg. physical circumcision) to become Christians (Act 15:11).  Therefore, while the dietary prohibitions no longer do, the moral restrictions do. The sexual realm continues to be a major challenge in today’s permissive society. While salvation is by faith in Christ and not works

There should be a remarkable transformation within

(which speak of our efforts) there must be a leaving the old life of sin in the ongoing progressive walk into holiness (Jn 8:11; Eph 2:8,9). The ways of the world, termed the works of the flesh are incompatible with God’s standards (Gal 5:19-21). “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” and should instead be “conforming to the image of Christ” by outworking the fruit of the Spirit and living by godly principles (Rom 8:29; Gal 5:22-24).

By regularly reading and studying the Bible, we come to know God’s view on life issues besides as we interact with other believers they can speak into the areas of our personality that we might be unaware of. Jesus said to the disciples, the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have taught you” and we can also rely on the Spirit’s guidance for our lives too, pointing out issues that require our attention so we  conform to His standards (Jn 14:26, 16:13; Rom 12:2; 1 Pet 1:14). Transformation must take place from the life we once walked when in rebellion against God to now being new creations in Christ, redeemed by His blood (2 Cor 5:17; Col 3:5-7).

The Christian says by the grace of God I am His child and Christ’s friend, a member of Christ’s body and ‘hidden with Him in God’, but also an enemy of the devil (Jn 1:12, 15:15; 1 Cor 12:27, 15:10; Col 3:3; 1 Pet 5:8). Through the great exchange (of His life for mine) I have been completely forgiven and made righteous. I must acknowledge I died with Christ and to the power of sin’s rule over my life; being free of condemnation I am now called to walk a new life (Rom 5:1, 6:1-6, 8:1). Since I died to sin I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor 5:14,15). Christ lives in me as I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the Kingdom of Christ, raised with Christ to be involved in eternal issues (Gal 2:20; Col 1:13, 3:1).

The core of Christianity is love, which is expressed in sacrifice. Don’t focus on sin or opposition but on how to live your new life ‘in Christ’ as you grow into His likeness with the divine power working within providing hope for the future (Rom 8:12,29; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 5:16; Col 1:27; 1 Jn 4:4). Until the day we die we will battle with sin in some areas for as Christians we are not sinless saints but saved sinners. We continually need to apply the remedy – the cleansing blood of Christ – in our daily walk, not as an excuse to continue sinning but as the cure (Rom 6:1; 1 Jn 3:6,9). This bias towards wrong keeps us humbly relying on His help.

Christianity like no other religion has been the driving force behind many socially beneficial changes, from the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, to workers’ rights, elevating women to equality, education, welfare, healthcare and respecting the preciousness of all human life from conception to

God's values outworked

natural death. While there have been atrocities done in the name of Christ by those zealous to safe-guard the faith they are few in comparison to the enormous amount of good done spanning all strata’s of life.

See also: Christian, church, connection, cults, daily walk, denominations, false teachers, freedom, good works, Jesus Christ, non-negotiable, post Christian, relationships, religion, repentance, resurrection, salvation, sin/sinners, spiritual disciplines, unique.