Religion is hard to define, for it means different things to different people. Two of the simplest definitions that I have read are: 1) The belief in a god or a group of gods; and 2) An organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. Using those definitions, Christianity has been recognized as a RELIGION, along with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other belief systems. Christianity is a “belief system” that is based exclusively on the Person of Jesus Christ, who is, according to 1st John 5:20, is the “true God.”

There is a major difference though between Christianity and all of the other “religions of the world.” This difference is pictured for us in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-5. Let’s read verses 3-5, “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell” (NKJV). Cain and Abel both professed to believe in God and based on their “belief system”, they came to worship God, but we see that God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. Why did God accept Abel’s sacrifice and reject Cain’s? Hebrews 11:4 provides the answer, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Abel’s “belief system” was according to God’s Word and thus he came to God with a sacrifice that God could accept. Cain’s “belief system” was NOT according to God’s Word and he came to God with a sacrifice that God could NOT accept. Romans 10:17 tells us, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Abel acted on faith in God’s Word; Abel did not. All the religions of the world except Christianity are represented by Cain and his offering, for they are trying to come to God without faith and through their own efforts, which God can NOT accept. This is why we read in Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the WAY OF CAIN.” The “way of Cain” is a man-made religion where men are void of faith in God’s Word and they believe they can merit salvation and heaven through their own good works. Abel represents Christianity, for by faith he offered to God a sacrifice that illustrates that the sinner can only be accepted by God through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who laid down His spotless life on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of sins.

Once a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, he/she is a CHRISTIAN and the teachings of CHRISTIANITY guide and lead them in every area of their life. We must emphasize that this desire to follow the teachings of Christianity is based on one’s RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST, and not on a set of rules or ceremonies that they feel they have to obey to be accepted by God. The “teachings of CHRISTIANITY” include all the teachings that Jesus Christ taught when He was on earth and the teachings of His apostles after He ascended to heaven. Jesus spoke of His teachings in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, AND BRING ALL THING TO YOUR REMEMBRANCE, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID TO YOU.”  After Jesus ascended to glory we read in Acts 2:42 that believers “continued stedfastly in the APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE.” All the truths of CHRISTIANITY have been given to us in the completed canon of Scripture and now we are to STUDY THEM and OBEY THEM. We also should be ready to DEFEND THEM, as Jude exhorted us to do in Jude 3, “Beloved…it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH WHICH WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS.” When Jude says, “the faith,” he is indeed speaking of the whole body of truth that we call CHRISTIANITY.  (195.7)  (DO)