People have many different opinions on what constitutes Christianity and Janie B. Cheaney points out a couple of these differing opinions in a recent article. Some believe Christianity is discovering the right rules God has setup for us and then following those rules Others believe it is a personal relationship with Jesus. 
There are problems with both opinions. Jesus preached against just following the rules the Pharisees and Sadducees had setup. Jesus told a parable of a Pharisee and a tax collector who went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee’s prayer was about how he followed all the rules of his religion: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” In contrast the tax collector just humbly admitted his failures (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee followed all the right rules but Jesus said that only the tax collector was justified before God.
If we view Christianity solely as a relationship with Jesus then of what does that relationship consist? Jesus’ disciples had a relationship with him but very few were at his crucifixion. The vast majority of his disciples deserted him in his moment of greatest need. What kind of a relationship is that? Can we have a relationship with Jesus and yet do what we want, ignoring what he desires?
I believe salvation requires both following the rules Jesus has given us and a relationship with Jesus. As Jesus states, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” So why does not our doctrine of salvation include both?
 Janie B. Cheaney, “Lord and friend”, World Magazine, September 2, 2007, p. 14.