Many Christians and non-Christians attempt to define or discuss essence of Christianity, many at times without any good understanding of what it is they talk about. Frankly, I have come across many representations of Christianity, most of which cannot be characterized as anything but misleading. Some Christians are so grossly misled, they think attendance at church services and provision of some service in context of church services is what is most important for recommending of themselves to Jesus Christ. Some others think they are so chosen by God they can live in adultery and still be celebrated by Jesus Christ. Some non- Christians think Christianity is believing in magic because Christians pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
What is Essence of Christianity?
Let us for the moment assume, consistent with evidence within civil society that we all for the most part subscribe to:
Honoring of older people (every social security system is a system designed to honor older people; payments to older people are funded by younger working people)
Not stealing (it is a crime to steal just about everywhere in the world)
Not making declarations about other people that are false, false declarations that can get them into trouble (perjury is a crime just about everywhere in the world)
Not committing adultery (this never is actively controversial, everyone pretends to believe in this virtue; typically, however, this virtue is passively controversial (deviants deviate secretly), but only with people who do not think self discipline applies in context of sexual relations)
Not committing murder (war, which is killing of others while they also are attempting to kill you naturally is not murder, neither is self defense; civil society and international conventions agree fully)
Not coveting what does not belong to us — the spiritual root of murder, stealing, adultery, and false declarations
The essence of Christianity? Jesus promises to provide the grace — power — which render the six objectives above— six elements of the moral code — easily attainable (John 1:12). He then promises power to go beyond achievement of these things, such that we become in essence love (John 1:12). God is Love (1John 4:8). Essence of Christianity is we receive power to be easily moral and power to achieve what is more difficult — becoming one with God via transformation into love itself. Ultimately, the goal of Christianity is that our entire being exudes the love of God (Ephesians 3:14–19).
We are not here talking mushy, kissy, feely, sexual love. We are talking (1Corinthians 13:4–8):
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. Love is not rude, not self seeking (will not pursue its interests to the uncaring detriment of others), is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs (does not impose yesterday’s conflict on relations that obtain today). Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects (inducing of a fellow Christian to acknowledge their sin is protection of love because otherwise such a Christian loses his or her salvation), always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The problem with the world today? While it should be the case that the love defined above makes us admire one another such that a woman is attracted to a man who demonstrates enunciated virtues, and vice versa, with sexual attraction rooted in such admiration, we have done all we can to dissociate sexual attraction from character.
Call me old school, call me naive, call me whatever, the root of problems in marriage, problems in interactions between men and women, the root of conflict in realm of sexual relations between men and women is dissociation of sexual attraction from character. For as long as we maintain this dissociation, relations between men and women never will attain to a good equilibrium. This is spiritual law. It cannot be otherwise. Nobody plants oranges and reaps pomegranates or grapes. We cannot sow physical attraction and permissiveness and reap spirituality in realm of sexual relations.
So what is the difference between moral man and Christian man?
Moral man can by force of will attain to morality in sense of the six elements of the moral code. Moral man cannot by force of will fully attain to the love of God.
A Christian has more of a capacity to become the Love that is essence of God because he or she is able to conceive and attain to heights of love of which moral man does not even begin to conceive. Moral man finds it difficult to attain to this exalted state of virtue because only in Jesus Christ is the exalted state made fully available. Without Jesus Christ there is no visa for participation in full becoming of love of God. This is what Jesus meant when He said (I paraphrase):
No one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
Faith in Jesus Christ is visa for entry into the race to become love of God. The beauty of this race? If we run well, everyone receives a prize. It is like making it into a Tennis Grand Slam event. Even if you lose in the first round, you receive some prize money. In reality, when we run well in the Christian race we always win and receive a prize. Regardless, our prize reflects our faithfulness, our commitment to the will of Jehovah, Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Both moral man and Christian man are judged on basis of how they treat others. For a Christian, this is a no-brainer. We cannot become love yet mistreat others. One person intentionally mistreated is enough for our claim to love to be hypocritical.
For moral man, Jesus Christ accepts decision not to believe in Him, but as Creator reserves the right to judge moral man’s treatment of others. At end of the day then, both moral man and Christian man are judged on same basis, with caveat that it is expected that having being supercharged with power of the Holy Spirit and having attained to love of God, Christian man does better at loving others than moral man. After all,
To whom much is given much is expected (Luke 12:48).
At end of the day, the most important difference between moral man and Christian man is Christian man’s willingness to acknowledge he cannot attain to God’s standard of love without divine or spiritual help from Jesus Christ. In his or her acceptance of help from Jesus Christ, Christian man acknowledges lack of capacity for conception of the depths of God’s love in his or her mind, as such accepts help from God for conception of and attainment to love of God.
If we look around us today and see all of the decadence and mistreatment of others in society, is there any doubt that moral man’s definition of love is of order of significance more decadent and chaotic than standards of Jesus Christ?
Church organizations are not standard of love of Jesus Christ. Neither are pastors or any specific Christian.
The person, character, and teachings of Jesus Christ, all of which align and are validated outside of the Bible are the standard of love of Jesus Christ. If we all would aspire to standard of love of Jesus Christ, the Utopia we seek via robotization of life on earth would be achievable without any loss of our faculties — spiritual, intellectual, moral, emotional, or physiological.