Religion or Relationship

By Not Known

In the recent census here, it was noted that many younger people have professed to have no religion.  They are categorically people who may be atheists.  It may simply mean that they do not believe in any deity; or that moral living is not based on any particular book or system of belief.  However, if we examine the term religion, it is proper to say that Christians “have no religion” too.  In all practicality, it is a sound affirmation for emphasizing the uniqueness of the Christian faith.  We do not have a religion but we have a relationship with a living God.                               

To have a religion simply means something we do to approach a deity or gods to bring about certain benefits resulting from that access.  From that perspective, we may be a Lutheran, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, etc. or Hindu or a worshipper of Guanyin according to the rituals and belief system that is required to appease that god and thereby gain benedictions from that connection.  For that matter, many come to church, or go to an institution of worship, because they are seeking benefits from the deities they worship.  If one does not get anything that benefits them, they would gladly go in search of another who would.  Some, apparently, have more than one religion. 

This brings us to the question, “why do we come to church?”  Are we simply seeking personal benefits instead of seeking the God who chooses whatever he thinks is best for us?  What if after going through all the rituals and regimens laid down and eventually discover that we are not getting what we are expecting?  Would you still remain a believer?  And still come to church?

A believer in God through his Son Jesus Christ is not about rituals or following certain regimen of the faith.  We are no less a Christian if we miss a Sunday worship even though it is important to help us relate better with God and fellow believers.  We are no less Christian if we had forgotten the Lord’s Prayer, or have not read the Bible once through, or unable to come on time for worship service, even though prayer and Bible reading draw us closer to God and punctuality is a way of honouring God.  What some people are going through today is a whole lot of guilt because they fail to do certain things.  This makes doing such things into idols of our lives.  We begin to worship them instead of God.  We miss the relationship but adhere to a religion.

What we need to know is that we fail and fail miserably on our own.  It is God’s grace that saves and grace comes from God.  We are vulnerable and we need to recognize it so that we may trust God completely by faith to save us instead of trying to save ourselves.  The gospel of Christ is about having a relationship with God based on God’s grace.

Peter Poon