The Christian Faith (Why it is not a Religion and tolerance for the diversity).

There are many religions in the world, men all over the world believe in some form of a deity. Christianity is lumped into the many religions in the world. It's considered the most popular among the major religions of the world.Religion, as some skeptics view it, was said to be man's way of understanding the origin of the universe and his explanation to the many things he could not understand, but with the advent of so much information about our world from science and use of technology, these skeptics see the need for religion slowly eroding away.The truth is, religion was not meant as an answer to the many things yet to be understood in the world. Religion was to help man meet a need. A yearning as it were to interact with something or someone beyond the use of his five senses. As the Apostle paul put it in his great speech at Athens; a need for man to "feel after God." (Acts 17:27). All this was to help man understand the meaning of his existence, why he is in the world as an independent conscious being and to what end.

This yearning despite of all that has happened in the world of man has persisted in the hearts of men for centuries and will always be there and so religion will always be here. The Christian faith however, when it's roots are studied gives reasons to believe that it is not at all like other religions and perhaps should not be classified thus.

Christianity has it's beginning in an already existing religion called Judaism. Judaism is a clearly spelt out religion with rituals and ceremonies just like it's contemporaries. The idea that one religion gave birth to another is not the case in the Christian faith. This is because, the progenitor of this faith, the man Jesus Christ as much as He identified with the religion of the Jews, differed in opinion and thoughts from many of the leaders of the religion of the Jews. His doing this was not a rebellion to challenge the compromise that had occurred in Judaism over the years since Abraham, so as to start a reformed and pure form of what already existed, No! Jesus, in challenging the religious leaders of His day on their many flaws and how they had fallen short of the written code (the Law of Moses), brought the answer to or should I say the end of that religion, because Judaism had failed. It was useless and dead as far as communing with the one true God was concerned.

So what did Jesus do? The Bible says that after abolishing the 'Judaic' laws and rituals that came from Moses, He established a new and living way (Ephesians 2:15, Hebrews 10:20).

Did He set up new laws and rituals then? Some might argue that He did and they would have scriptures to prove so. In this article however, I disagree. Clearly, if the former covenant was not tenable there was need for a new one (Hebrews 8:7).

The greatest accomplishment of Jesus christ is seen in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV); "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new".Take away the rituals, take away the laws, the do's and dont's of a typical religion and put in it's place a new man. A man who inherently knows to do good and seeks God in a personal and refined way. For Christ Himself prophesied that the time was coming where the people will not worship on any mountain (as it is with pilgrimage in some religions) but instead will worship the Father in "Spirit and Truth" (what we find in Christianity) for God has always sought those who worshipped not cause they had to or were told to, but because they loved to. To them, worship is more than a lifestyle, it's a daily walk. (John 4:23, Ezekiel 36:27)

If religion was on the right, Christianity is on the left. If Religion were 'conservative', Christianity is 'liberal'. This is why Paul would say very boldly that there was no Jew nor Gentile, but all that exists is Christ. (Colossians 3:11).Men have and will always make a religion of Christianity and that's fine. The most important thing however is when you discover what Jesus really came to do, that discovery will liberate you.

As you may have probably noticed, there is already that tension in the body of Christ, especially following the advent of the covid 19 pandemic. We find members of the body of Christ who don't see the need to be restricted by gatherings in physical buildings for service as opposed to those that insist on such. We also find members of the body who do not see the obligation in tithes and offerings as opposed to those who see such as an obligation. There's a part that seeks to be free from the bondage that those who made a religion out of Christianity placed on them and that's okay. Not to say that the tithes and offerings are a bondage or that having brethren physically gathered for worship is also a constrain but the truth is to the one who pays his tithe and to the one who doesn't, the same Jesus stands for them as their righteousness. The same for the one who insists on physical gatherings in the face of a crisis and the one who doesn't. So therefore the conclusion to this matter will be the words of Paul;Romans 14:4 "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand'. 14:5 "one man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind'. 14:6 "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks".

The end to the constant arguements in the church will not be all of us believing the same thing or better still, doing things the same way but a tolerance for one another. 1 Corinthians 13:9 "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part". 13:10 "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away".

Not one group of Christians knows or has mastered everything. One group will always seem to exceed in one area over the other and that's fine.1 Corinthians 12:20-27

12:20 "But now are they many members, yet but one body." 12:21 "And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you." 12:22 "Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary"12:23 "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness." 12:24 "For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:" 12:25 "That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another." 12:26 "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it." 12:27 "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular".

A single church organ or family in Christ is not the whole body of Christ, there are over 2 billion people who profess faith in Jesus Christ and they don't all listen to one Pastor, preacher and evangelist and that's fine. It's what we met when we came into Christ and the diversity doesn't even seem to be slowing down, it just evolves even more and personally to me that's just fascinating.

What we do know is that in the end, what really matters is Christ in your heart and what that truth did to your personality, your daily walk. Finally, once again quoting Paul;

"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1 MSG