Christianity: Religion or Mission
Written by Ps Alby Yip
I am a first generation Christian. I grew up with a staunch belief in another religion. Being a Christian now, with the experience of having followed another religion, enables me to see the comparative differences between that religion and Christianity. Perhaps that is why I am very sensitive when filling up forms asking me what my religion is.
I am convinced that Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a mission. It was firstly a God initiated mission to save humankind (Jn 3:16). It was Christ’s prerogative to lay down His life to atone for our sins (Jn 10:17-18). It was the Spirit’s power that enabled believers to understand and to further God’s mission (Ac 2:3-4).
Christianity as a mission can also be seen in the first, last and great commands of the Lord Jesus. The first command the Lord gave His disciples across the four Gospels was “Follow me!” (Matt 4:19; Mk 1:17; Lk 5:10-11; Jn 1:43) The greatest commandment the Lord gave His disciples was to love God and love neighbour (Matt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31; Lk 10:27-28).
The great commission the Lord gave His disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Lk 24:46-49; Jn 17:18) The last command, which is also the last recorded words of the Lord Jesus, to His disciples before he was taken from their sight was, “Be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)
Most religions have the element of “bring unto me,” that is, to bring offerings in whatever forms. Some religions have the element of “go for me,” that is, to proselytize and make converts. But it is unique to Christianity that has the element of “be like me,” that is, Christians are to be like Christ (2 Cor 3:18; Rom 8:29; Gal 3:27; Phil 2:5; Col 1:27; 1 Jn 3:2).
Being a Christian is to embody Christ. We cannot be Christ-like unless we are like Christ, not only in the beauty of His spiritual embodiment, but also in the power of His spiritual endowment. It is very difficult to miss the fact that Christ is on a mission. What about us who are empowered by His Spirit to embody Christ?
Let us not just be religious adherents who fulfil religious obligations. This being Zion Bishan’s Missions Month, let us once again be reminded about the commands and commission of the Lord Jesus. Let us be like Christ; let us be on mission. Let us be His witnesses in Singapore and in all Asia, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).