My Guest Post for This Week
by pastor Paul J. Bern
To view this on my website, click here 🙂
During this Christmas holiday, I will be spending some time with friends and giving myself a chance to take time for some R&R. While I’m away, I would like to introduce you to a colleague and acquaintance of mine, Neil Vermillion. Neil has a Web ministry as I do, but his is focused more on prophecy (see link below), whereas mine is focused on preaching and teaching the Word while juxtaposing it with modern events. I chose this posting because it fits the current holiday season by reminding us of the origins of Christmas. Christmas is an inherently Christian holiday. Yet it is celebrated globally year after year. So here’s a little piece about the origins of Christmas as it applies to the uniqueness of Christianity.
What Makes Christianity Unique?
Rather than attempt to create an exhaustive resource to answer this I’d rather give you key points to consider – key ideas you can take with you, right now about what makes Christianity unique from other religions.
This way you won’t get bogged down in memorizing details and facts (there are plenty), but instead walk away with key ideas to pray about, think about, and ask more questions about.
Jesus himself made the claim he was the only way (John 14:6). The original founder of our faith, the one we follow as believers and followers of Jesus, said himself He was the only way.
He didn’t apologize for it, or make this claim as though he was embarrassed or unsure of it. In fact, he made this claim with great boldness and confidence, even though he knew it would turn everything around.
Without compromising he said, “It’s all about me”, so to speak. In essence he said, no one gets into heaven, no one lives eternal life, no one sees The Father, except through me.
Jesus was unique in that he himself said he was the only way. Other religions talk about finding the right path, working to make the right decisions, learning the right lessons, or doing the right things, but Jesus simply said it was all about him. Jesus said, “follow me”.
How Do I Know Christianity Is The Right Religion?
Jesus told his disciples to “follow me”, not “obey my teachings”. Jesus said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments”, so yes, we do need to learn, follow, and obey, but it’s not about following rules, or followings concepts, it’s about following a man, a person, our teacher, lover, protector, savior.
It’s not religion. It’s a relationship with Jesus Christ (click here to tweet this).
It’s not about obeying rules for the sake of obeying rules, it’s about growing in knowledge and experience of a person through a relationship that grows in intimacy. This relationship is intensely personal, not dogmatic, not religious.
What Makes Christianity Different From Other Religions?
Christianity is not based on works, or getting it right, or figuring it out.
It’s more about receiving a free gift. Not free in the sense it has no value, but free in the sense we didn’t have to pay for it. Of course the price of salvation is very expensive, but we didn’t have to pay for it (we never could).
It’s not about getting it right…
Instead Jesus paid the price for our sin debt on our behalf, making salvation freely available to all who would choose to receive it.
This free gift is part of the offense of salvation and the message of God’s grace. This grace is thought of by many as an extreme demonstration of God’s love for us. Some have even referred to it as “vulgar grace“.
How is Christianity Different?
Christianity is not about man finding God, redemption, truth, love, light, eternal life, or anything else, but rather is about a perfect, loving God reaching down to bridge the gap to reach down to humanity to pursue dirty, fallen, imperfect humans. God made a way for us when there was no way. It wasn’t man’s idea, or knowledge, or ingenuity, but rather God’s burning love and passion for people, inspiring him to make a tremendous sacrifice, as an extravagant demonstration of his love for us. Yes, our God is a flaming fire, burning with white-hot passion for us in his pursuit of revealing his love, mercy and grace.
Christianity is God pursuing man, not just man pursuing God (tweet this).
Humans didn’t finally figure it out, and work their way up to God. God came down, and made a way for us.
Is Christianity The One True Religion?
Every other leader, founder, teacher of every other religion or teaching is dead. They’ve passed on into their place in eternity, but Jesus himself rose again from the dead.
Jesus rose from the dead…
No other religion can make this claim, which without a doubt, makes Christianity unique and set apart from all others.
These are my own personal thoughts as to the basis of what makes Christianity different than any other religion or set of beliefs, but I already know I don’t know everything. So please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!