From “How to Become a Christian”: Chapter 4 – How the church got into its current condition
I have just used the word “religion”. It is a much misunderstood word. Real Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is God’s one and only way of reaching out to lost people who need His mercy and forgiveness as a free gift. “Religion” is the many different futile ways in which men attempt to find their own way to God. It is usually done through seeking to improve their behaviour so as to impress God. They hope to earn a place in heaven through living a good life, or at least a life that is more good than bad.
That viewpoint is so widespread that to challenge it shocks people. Yet, I can say, quite clearly, that real Christianity is not about trying to impress God or being a good person. Neither is it anything to do with trying to earn salvation through a good life or good works. That is what every type of religion is about. But it is the opposite of what real Christianity is about.