I have often heard it said that “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.” I understand the point and would agree, for the most part. However, religion is religion. It’s man’s way of dealing with God.
“Religion” has come to mean mindless ritual, formula and tradition and if that’s what is meant by the quote above I certainly agree. However, Christianity is very much a religion as the dictionary defines it.
James 2:26,27 tells us what religion truly is. It’s not just something you go do at church, it’s a way of living. James says that saying and doing religious things means nothing if you later go out and let your tongue flap all over saying sinful things.
The way you live your life can make all you do religiously completely worthless. This is much of the history of Judaism. They did the sacrifices, they went to the temple yet their heart was a long ways away and their lives were not changed in the direction of God.
“Religion,” in the Greek, means “worship, ceremonial observance.” What’s even more interesting about the word is that its root word means “to frighten or trouble.” Words mean things. Religion is based on a fear, reverence and awe of God. You can’t do this for an hour a week and not have it impact the remainder of the week. True religion scares the life into you.