A couple of weeks back, there was a knock at my door. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a nice couple who wanted to share their religion with me. After they left, I thought to myself “what makes Christianity special among all the religions of the world?” Here are some things that make Christianity different than other world religions.
God initiates a relationship
Other world religions see man in a state where he either cannot know God or must strive through rites, rituals, meditation or purification to hopefully become good enough to have a knowledge of God. Christianity paints a completely different picture. The Bible states that while we were sinners and enemies of God, He went into action to redeem us and have a relationship with us (Romans 5:8-10, 1 Peter 3:18). The God of Christianity does not wait for sinners to become righteous enough to come to Him. He comes to them to make them righteous.
Most world religions base salvation on works and pious living. In other words, the emphasis is on rites, rituals and purification through self-denial. If these things are practiced enough, then the person will become good enough to attain a reward from God. The problem with this system is that humans are weak. No matter how disciplined we become we will have moments when discipline lapses. No matter how many right decisions we make we will have those moments of poor decision making. No matter how self-controlled we become we will have those moments where we lack self-control.
Christianity has a solution for this problem. We call it grace. The God of Christianity does not save us on a system of works or law, but on a system of grace. We are saved by the sacrifice of Jesus, not by our ability to become good enough to deserve it. The Bible certainly teaches that disciples of Jesus are to learn and build self-control and righteousness, but it clearly teaches we are not saved by our works, but by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).
God came down
Most world religions picture God or gods as being far away and unapproachable. He is too holy to interact closely with humans. He is too big to be understood. He is too holy to understand humans. The Bible does teach that the Christian God is holy and is too big to be completely understood by mere humans. However, the God of the Bible is not far away and unapproachable. Rather, He is quite the opposite.
He came to earth and became human. This may not seem like a big deal to those of us who grew up around and believing in Jesus. To the rest of the religious world, that is shocking. God becoming human is unfathomable. They see mankind as too evil for God to come here and be among us, much less become one of us. This is one of the most beautiful and unique elements of Christianity.
God became flesh and lived with us (John 1:14). God knows what it is like to be human. He understands how we struggle and our weakness. He understands temptation. He learned to be obedient (Hebrews 5:8). God did this so he could be our intercessor (Hebrews 5:14-16, 7:23-25). The Christian God is a God who knows humanity because He has been humanity. Christianity is truly a unique religion!
– Brandon Johnson
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