Let's start with some examples of what I believe Christianity is not: Faith in Christ is not a membership to a select group of people who have become perfect. Despite what the bible says about this topic, many Christians have taken it upon themselves to think their faith gives them a moral superiority over those who do not believe in Christ. As a result of this cold behavior, many unbelievers are reluctant to become a Christian because they associate it with being mean and judgmental toward others. Honestly, who can blame them? If that is what it meant to be Christian, I would also reject it.
People who claim to have a moral superiority over others are only fooling themselves. Everyone who feels this way has not taken an honest evaluation of their own heart. When we do this, we learn it is impossible to become perfect or without blame. Once we realize this truth, we also realize our only hope is to trust in the mercy of God through Christ. Following rules or doing good deeds to "cancel" our bad deeds does nothing to change our hearts from death unto life. Only the acceptance of Jesus into our hearts can accomplish this miracle.
Christianity is not a "get out of jail free" card. Some Christians have this idea that, because we believe in Christ, somehow everything will work out perfectly in life. Some feel Jesus is like a shield against every kind of suffering. Ironically, the bible is clear the exact opposite is true. Yes, God promises He will protect us from evil and be a shelter in our time of need...but this is meant to help us overcome adversity, not necessarily to avoid it.
Jesus is clear that believers will find trouble in this world. Why? Because the world is filled with evil and hypocrisy. They persecuted and killed Jesus, who was perfect; it is therefore logical to assume they would try and do the same to us, if we accurately reflect the nature of Christ. And let us not forget, God sometimes allows us to suffer so we can find spiritual growth. Looking back, I can see how many of my own trials in life have made me stronger and brought me closer to God.
Christianity is not a rulebook to follow in order to earn eternal life. Our redemption is not a scoreboard where God keeps track of our good deeds versus our bad deeds. The bible is very clear about this topic: Salvation is by faith in Christ alone. It is about admitting we have a sinful nature, and then asking Jesus Christ into our hearts to make us new. A genuine faith in Christ is one where we acknowledge our weakness to Him and ask for help to change our behavior.
The bible is clear: That which is sinful will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Our Lord's death on the cross makes it possible for us to shed our inherited, sinful nature and receive His righteousness in its place. Those who accept Christ are judged by what He did; however, those who reject Christ are judged based on what they did. Needless to say, every person on this earth has sinned against God and what is right. If we try and stand on our own merit, we will fall short of redemption and salvation. Only when we trust in the One who is perfect can we be justified before God and His righteous judgment.
To summarize, Christianity is not a club for people who want to feel superior to others. The truth is, nobody will ever be perfect, including Christians. To be a Christian means admitting your faults to God and receiving the gift of salvation, found only in Christ. It's a desire to shed our inherited, sinful nature so we can become holy like Jesus. It is important to note this transformation does not happen overnight; and no matter how hard we try, we can never become exactly like Christ. But it is our persistent quest to reach perfection in Him that changes us for the better. This lifelong journey and relationship with Jesus is the essence of Christianity.
(Scripture references: Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 2:1-11, 1Peter 4:12-16, 1John 3:11-15, John 15:18-25, Ephesians 2:1-10)