I get a lot of flack for using the distinction between religion and Christianity. I wanted to write a short post on why I do so.
Here is why I use the religion vs gospel distinction:
1. It’s biblical: Acts 26:5, Colossians 2:18, Philippians 3:1-10.
2. The early church: the 1st and 2nd century Christians were actually called atheist by the Roman Empire. The Gospel was so other, out of this world. They had never seen or heard of something like it. Unlike most early 1st-2nd century religions the Christians had no temple they worshiped at, no sacrifices to there God, and no priest. Jesus was there temple, once and for all sacrifice, and High Priest. It was totally other.
3. In the gospel’s Jesus rebukes the Pharisee’s for there religion. Such as Matthew 23. Moreover, the Pharisee’s religion is different than Christianity. They weren’t even in the same ballpark. Other examples: Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses and The Christian Gospel are completely distinct.
4. No other belief system teaches acceptance by God through pure grace and faith in Jesus and his work. I don’t think its smart in this context to mash those together. But rather make them distinct.
5. Religion: I obey therefore I am accepted. Gospel: I am accepted by pure grace, therefore I gladly obey.