Some people hate the contention that true, Biblical Christianity is not a religion. If all they understand by that term is a belief in and a life devoted to God, then it could be classified as one. However, that fails to see that religion is a vast spectrum of beliefs and systems, invented by people facing their broken relationship with God. Religion is mankind’s attempt to fix its problem. As such, religion is too imprecise a term to describe the teachings of Christ; while it is also a concept that incorrectly interprets those teachings. Biblical Christianity is God’s plan to fix something mankind cannot.
It seems that the crucial question in the religion/relationship quandary is this:
Whom do you trust?
The essence of Biblical Christianity is that it requires trust in God. The believer is completely reliant on God for their rescue and security. Belief also leads to obedience—a life following God’s desires—but as a result of the restored relationship with God, not as a means to secure it.
Religious Christianity on the other hand, rests in a trust of self. The acolyte has confidence in their own understanding of a worldview, or a faith in a system prescribed to remedy their problems. They live based on the understanding that their actions will ensure them a successful life. It is no different from any other religion in that sense. Only the details diverge.