Every other religion in the world is the religion of “do,” but …Christianity alone is the religion of “done.”
The Day of Atonement by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence taken from It Is Well, by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence, copyright 2010, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org, page 46.
He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life. Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water. Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King. Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons. Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears. Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world. Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd. Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.
The Christian faith is not true because it works; it works because it is true.
Have you ever noticed the difference between the way the followers of Mohammed and the followers of Jesus react when one or the other is insulted? When Mohammed is insulted, Islam says the offender is to be killed by the faithful, but when Jesus is mocked, Scripture teaches us to pray that God would have mercy on the mocker. Why the difference? Do Muslims hold Mohammed in higher esteem? Not at all. It’s simply this: Mohammed oppressed and slaughtered some of those that resisted his message and taught his followers to do the same. But Jesus died for His enemies and taught us to love our enemies as well, so that we would be like our Father in heaven. Now, I ask you, which religion sounds as though it came from heaven, and which was made here on earth?
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
All the ideas of Christianity might be discovered in some other religion, yet there would be in that other religion no Christianity. For Christianity depends, not upon a complex of ideas, but upon the narration of an event. Without that event, the world, in the Christian view, is altogether dark, and humanity is lost under the guilt of sin. There can be no salvation by the discovery of eternal truth, for eternal truth brings naught but despair, because of sin. But a new face has been put upon life by the blessed thing that God did when He offered up His only begotten Son.
True Christianity is to manifest genuinely Christ-like behavior by dependence on the working of the Spirit of God within, motivated by a love for the glory and honor of God (Ray Stedman).
The [Christian] message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.
Christianity is a divine project of replacing inferior joys in inferior objects with superior joys in God Himself.
On the one hand, Christianity is the most exclusive religion imaginable. It insists that belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation. Jesus is the only way. You must go to Him to get eternal life. On the other hand, Christianity is the most inclusive religion possible because it makes salvation accessible to everyone. Salvation is offered for all people through one Person. Whoever believes in Him will not perish. Anyone who receives or believes in Jesus will live forever with God. There are no racial, social, intellectual, or economic criteria that prevent anyone from joining God’s family. One of the problems with the other religions of the world is that they all smack of elitism… Only Christianity offers salvation to everyone as a free gift.
No other religion has ever claimed that its historical founder is the one and only supreme deity. Nor has any other religion ever dared to suggest that the one true God loves us enough to die for us. This is the glory and the beauty of Christianity. Because God is just, there had to be a payment for sin. Because God is love, He was willing to make the payment in the Person of His own Son.
People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.
It’s clear that all the religious systems are different. Yet all the religious systems, except Christianity, are all ultimately the same. Every world religion teaches what man must do to earn his salvation. Only Christianity teaches that we cannot earn our salvation, but that God in Christ must accomplish it for us. Thus, in Christianity, as compared to all other religions, it is gift versus reward and grace versus works and faith versus effort and humility versus pride and Christ versus self.
From the Book of Acts, we can conclude the following: One, with prayer and in dependence on the Holy Spirit we need to verbally share the Gospel living lives that make the message attractive. Two, we can point people to Christ though the Bible, creation, conscience and personal testimony. Three, we must share Christ and when we do, we must include His work on the cross and resurrection. And four we call people to receive salvation in Christ through their faith and repentance. We share and trust the Lord to open hearts. And when people are truly saved, their lives will testify to the fact as they are filled with the fruit of the Spirt and desire to obey the Lord, seen initially in water baptism. Then they join a local church and participate in the Great Commission, proclaiming the Gospel to others.
Many think of religion in general and Christianity in particular as a sour and depressing attempt to suppress human desire and deprive us of the delights of life. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christianity forbids us no pleasures, save those that lead to temporal misery and eternal woe. God has forbidden you nothing that is conducive to your ultimate satisfaction and delight. Nothing!
Christianity is summed up in the two facts: Christ for us and Christ in us.
Christianity is essentially a life to be lived.
Biblical Christianity is “standing on the promises”, while cultural Christianity is “sitting on the premises”.
Christianity is Christ, and if He is not who He said He was, and if He did not do what He said He had come to do, the foundation is undermined and the whole superstructure will collapse. Take Christ from Christianity and you disembowel it, there is nothing left!
The Christian message is for those who have done their best and failed!