It is imperative that we ask the question, “What is true Christianity?”
The reason it is so important is because a false view of Christianity will necessarily mean that we are not saved. This is my concern for you, for myself, and for everyone. Paul had the same concern and he did not address it casually [Galatians 1:6-9]. I think his comments to Timothy are very important.
1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
It mattered to Paul what Timothy was believing and what he was teaching simply because it was necessary to ‘ensure salvation.’
Colossians 2:4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.
In Colossians Paul again expresses such a concern for what was being understood by the people of God. Notice that in Colossians chapter two he explains that the wealth of true Christianity ‘comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ [Col. 2:2-3].
True Christianity is only found in Jesus
But that is not all that Paul says in Colossians. His concern is for a full and right understanding about Jesus and how He saves us. There are many who profess to follow Jesus but Paul says that they are enemies of Christ [Paul’s Warnings].
Consider and take to heart what Paul furthermore says regarding true Christianity.
Colossians 2:6,7 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
True Christianity is only found in Jesus, but the following must also be understood: in the same way that we became a Christian, so we are to walk.
True Christianity is only found in Jesus, from beginning to end, meaning, that it is only found in our Conversion that we then walk in
There is no Christianity without Jesus, but what does that mean? That means that in order to be saved we have ‘received Christ Jesus as Lord,’ in which it can be said that we are ‘firmly rooted’ in Him. Many profess a faith in Jesus but then they hold to a form of “Christianity” that denies its power [2 Timothy 3:5] and they subscribe to a “Christianity” according to the flesh [Phil. 3:3,18].
Paul says that true Christianity is that we walk in the same manner as we received Christ Jesus as Lord. He explains that this is by the means of faith, which is everywhere emphasized in the Scriptures [some examples]. In Galatians, Paul shows that by means of ‘hearing with faith’ we became saved and that with the same ‘hearing with faith’ we are to walk. It is this emphasis on faith in Christ from beginning to end that makes for true Christianity.
Galatians 3:1-5 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?
Notice that Paul says that we received the Spirit, which is salvation, by hearing with faith and that the Lord provides us with the Spirit and works miracles in us (e.g. ongoing sanctification) by the same hearing with faith.
Yes, Jesus is true Christianity and without Him there can be no true religion, but the concern that is so pervasive in Paul’s writings is in understanding that true Christianity is that we walk in the same manner as we became Christians, by the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
There is a pervasive problem in Evangelical Churches that is nothing more than a repeat of the problem that Paul the apostle addressed in his epistles.
To understand what true Christianity is, read my book, Take Up Your Cross: Our Only Power to Live and Walk by the Spirit.