A while back I wrote an article on faith and logic. Basically, I was convinced to write on it because there is so much going on in Christendom today as a result of the persecution we are facing from the world. Christians now feel the need to be logical about faith and I wanted to point out how to balance our faith and logic as Christians.
However, much more than faith and logic, one of the major controversies we have in Christendom today is religiosity.
Should we be religious and is Christianity a religion?
Those two questions are very popular among Christians today. And not because people actually ask these questions but more that people make comments about how they are not religious but spiritual and some others find that hard to understand.
Now, I don’t know much and I don’t claim to know much. However, I will be sharing the little God has been able to open my eyes to see regarding this topic.
Let’s start with the basic.
According to Brittanica, religion is human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence.
Dictionary.com defines religion as “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects,” and “the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices.”
Now, there are other definitions but this should suffice for what we want to discuss.
Defining Spirituality and Religion for Christians
Using these definitions above, we can argue that because we believe in the holiness, sacredness and sovereignty of God, Christianity is a religion.
We could also say that since we are a body of persons adhering to set of beliefs and practices and we generally agree upon them, Christianity is a religion.
However, as believers, we know that Christianity is far more than that.
Christianity is a way of life.
And I think we all agree that it’s a relationship more than a religion. So, we cannot say based on the Truth we have believed that Christianity is a religion.
So, based on the above definitions, let’s get down to it.
Should a Believer Be Religious?
Let me start by saying when I hear Christians say they are spiritual and not religious, I get where they are coming from but I wonder, can you do Christianity with sincerity and commitment without a level of religion?
The coming of Christ was not to burden us with laws but to introduce us to a new way of life that should now come to us naturally or more accurately, as a result of the work of Christ in us as we get closer to Him.
Now, while we are not burdened by a set of laws, there are laws in Christianity. We are not expected to come to Christ and be comfortable living as we used to; God expects us to become and live like Christ.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 NKJV
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” Phil. 2:5 NKJV
There are so many scriptures in the Bible where the apostles admonished us to forsake sin and live a life of righteousness.
Although sin is a nature and we have the righteousness of Christ as believers, we are not expected to live carelessly without a thought to the free gift we have been given.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Romans 6:1 NKJV
This is Paul telling us that the grace of God has been given to us to not just forgive and redeem us from our sins but to also empower us to live above sin.
What am I saying? If your idea of being spiritual and not being religious is that you can be lawless, then you have gotten it wrong. The kingdom of God is very orderly and disciplined, so believers are not allowed to live in lawlessness.
Yes, we have freedom but we don’t have to abuse our freedom; if not for us, then for other weaker believers who are looking up to us.
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others … I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.” 1 Cor 10:23-24,33b NLT
Holiness is still a thing in the Christian faith; it is not a thing of the past. We should be consecrated, we should be perfect and we should be holy.
“Because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Pet 1:16 NKJV
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48 NLT
Therefore, our concept of being spiritual as Christians should be getting close to God to be more like Him and not living as we will because we want the freedom Christ offers but not the responsibility that comes with being with Him.
On the other hand, there is no way we can be totally good Christians without a little religiosity. We have various religious practices that if you want to grow as a Christian, you have to be devoted to.
Prayers (1 Thess 5:17)
Fasting (Matt 4:2)
Fellowshipping with the brethren (Heb 10:25)
Studying the Word (Josh 1:8)
They are all religious practices that will help us grow and any Christian who is serious with their Christian life will religiously practise them.
In conclusion, there is absolutely no way one can totally separate being religious with being spiritual as a Christian because the more of God you know and the more of Him you become, the more religious you become, in the sense of the things you devote yourself to. The difference, however, is that you are not compelled to do them, it becomes a way of life to be holy, fellowship with others, pray, fast and study the Word.
So should a believer be religious?
Here’s my answer; dear believer, our freedom is not a call to lawlessness, but to be more like Christ. If you understand that, you don’t need to bother about semantics.