There is a lot of talk these days about spirituality vs religion. Is spirituality religion? Or is it not?
Spirituality brings up a whirlwind of concepts and ideas. Buddhism focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of enlightenment. Islam sees it as purification of the soul. Judaism defines it in the “halachah,” the way one is to live, the things one does, and careful not to do certain other things.
To sum up these other world religions, spirituality is the subjective practice and experience of their religion. It is spirituality synonym for the exercises and beliefs which individuals or groups have with regard to their personal relationship with deity.
Christianity defines spirituality in one word – sanctification, that is being set apart as sacred space. In Genesis 2:3, God “sanctified” the seventh day, meaning he set it apart as sacred space. The New Testament reflects the idea that followers of Christ have been sanctified or set apart as the result of Christ’s holiness (Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13). There may be types of spirituality in other religions but with Christianity, it is clear. One is set apart as sacred space so God can bring them into conformity with His son, Jesus Christ. It is not spirituality vs Christianity, but Christianity is spiritual because it demands holiness.
This idea that Christians have been made holy before God through their faith in Christ is related to justification. Holiness is a quality that characterizes God and humans or objects.
In Christian theology, a distinction is sometimes made between justification and sanctification where justification refers to having saving faith and sanctification refers to the process of gradual purification from sin and progressive spiritual growth that should mark the life of the believer. This doctrine of sanctification draws on New Testament passages that emphasize a move toward holy and righteous living that characterizes following Christ in faith (1 Thess 4:3–8; Rom 6:19–22).
Tim Mackie and Jonathan Collins of the Bible Project offered fresh insights into spirituality for the Christian community. They emphasized why is spirituality important? It is important because we cannot live Christianity without it.
Several questions were put forward with profound answers coming from Tim and Jonathan. If you really want to hear all the questions and answers, take a peak by watching the broadcast on our various podcast channels.
Three of the several questions asked were
- What is biblical spirituality? Is it using the Bible as a resource for spirituality? Or is it the results from using the Bible as a guide to spirituality? Have we Westernized biblical spirituality to the point of not seeing the forest for the trees?
- How does sin distort spirituality?
- One of our listeners wrote: “I struggle with lust and pornography. I pray daily that God deliver me, but I fall back into the same sin. I believe God does not answer because I’ve sinned too much, and he no longer forgives me. I want to please God and be spiritual. What should I do?”
Watch how Tim and Jonathan respond with clarity from the biblical perspective of spirituality.