** Also, being "religious" (using "religion" as a higher, more moral kind of lifestyle) is different from being a Jesus follower and believer (knowing about God is different from knowing God). Did you know that the Bible never records Jesus telling a sinner that, "You are going to hell!"?
Date: 4/7/2013 10:08:42 AM ( 9 y ) ... viewed 6201 times
Jesus claims to be divine & the Son of God and to have all authority in Heaven and on earth. Along with early Judaism, Christianity is God's divine revelational effort to link up with man (other religions not based on actual divine revelation). Although the list below speaks of the uniqueness of Christianity, I urge everyone to remember that the thing of utmost importance is not to be a student of "religion"...it is to be one who truly searches for truth & finds a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Also, being "religious" (using "religion" as a higher, more moral kind of lifestyle) is different from being a Jesus follower and believer (knowing about God is different from knowing God). Did you know that the Bible never records Jesus telling a sinner that, "You are going to hell!"? [types of "Christians"]
Only one unchanging God has been proclaimed uninterruptedly for thousands of years, through all of those changes of mankind, and through virtually all cultures: the God of Abraham...the actual original creator and the continual current creator and sustainer of all there is, the only true supreme being...true God. [check out God's ways] There have been several major religious views of this God of Abraham: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity (see below) [views compared].
Mankind failed; a PARDON is Crucially Essential
It has been clearly and copiously demonstrated in the Bible Old Testament that mankind...on his own...is unable to be "good" enough for eternal life with God, The Father. So, Jesus was sent to obtain a general pardon...by the grace and love of God...as the saving doorway (The Way) to (1) a current relationship and (2) eternal life with God. There is a wide & deep difference in knowing Jesus and knowing ABOUT Jesus!
It is Jesus of Nazareth that "makes" Christianity as He brings salvation through the love and grace of God. Tried in a Roman court, condemned to crucifixion by the demanding clamor of His own people, killed by the Romans, and beloved by thousands of the ordinary Jews of His day (hated by the Jewish power structure)...all according to the prophecies (delivered by prophets [unrefuted over the past 3000 years]) from God. Jesus has promised such a "knowing" God relationship through his resurrected self as savior...with you as a Jesus believer. The savior, Jesus, is available even to the lowest and most ignorant of humans if they will "believe" (see the gospel New Testament of John).
So, intellectualizing it all into "religion" becomes a "human effort"; it is then liable to distortion into "doing" in order to be pleasing enough to merit God's favor. Christianity is about what God has already done for you! Religion is about working your way to heaven; Christianity is God's good news...Gospel... that heaven is a free gift of God through Jesus. "Religion" puts a new coat on the person; Christianity puts a new person in the coat. The pardon is "on the table" for you! Will you claim it?
While considered important by many, the study of any and all religions runs the risk of making an idol out of theology and religiosity. In 1960, estimates indicated 3% of the world's population were Christian; in 1998, it is 10%. Further, it is currently estimated that at least 1.7 billion have hardly any access to the hearing of the Gospel! Yet there are realistic hopes that all of the world's people will have a really decent chance to hear the "Gospel" [defined] of Jesus!
WHAT GOD DID FOR YOU: There are only two kinds of religions. One kind (all but one religion is in this category) has to do with the "religion" that YOU carry: all of these are predicated on what YOU do to get to God. The other kind is the religion that carries you: there is only one in this 2nd category...Christianity. Uniquely, Christianity starts with what GOD did to make it possible for any human to get to Him: He made Jesus of Nazareth to be the atoning Christ, the Messiah, the pardon-obtaining Savior available (through one's personal acceptance of the general pardon) to the entirety of mankind! To get to heaven, you must be pardoned! As C. S. Lewis has pointed out, "The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God." He made the Holy Spirit to indwell & empower the believer. God exists as Father, Jesus (the Son), and the Holy Spirit. The Father came to Adam & Eve after they sinned...Adam & Eve did not search for God to atone. Jesus came to the Christian exterminator, Saul, and transformed him into His apostle to the gentiles & even changed his name to Paul. And, Revelation 3:20 assures that Jesus is knocking on the door to the hearts of mankind so that He might come in and dwell through the Holy Spirit. From the viewpoint of Christianity, God seeks you!
GOD BECAME A MAN: Rev. Eli Stanley Jones (1884-1973) is quoted as saying that the uniqueness of Christianity is summed up in John 1:14...the incarnation. Christianity...the only religion claiming that God became a man.
SINLESS SAVIOR: No other religion offers a sinless savior through whom people can be saved; others offer prophets, gurus, founders, and leaders...usually promising enlightenment and position through merit. And, that Christianity savior was killed and arose from the dead, appearing over a 40-day period to over 500 witnesses, and He is a living savior at work in the world to this very day. And, true Jesus believers must be eternally saved (the believer's guarantee of Acts 4:12). By personally accepting the One who obtained the general pardon on our behalf, we thereby actually and specifically accept our share of the pardon and get saved for our time on earth AND eternity in heaven.
THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE MEDIATOR: in that God's most distinctive attribute is "holiness", then it is impossible that any human could not have offended God by sinning. How arrogant that any human could feel qualified to represent themselves as the offending party before an almighty God. The only acceptable mediator is one on a par (Christianity uniquely makes this provision) with the offended God...Himself as His only son who came to dwell amongst us as a man, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. (Job 9:32-34; John 14:6; Hebrews 10:11-14; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Timothy 2:5-6) "We can access God only on the coattails of the one Man who has the right to enter into His presence." "God does business with us by doing business with Christ. To stand in the presence of God without representation would be like standing a hundred yards from the sun; God's holiness would liquefy us." (Lutzer, 2000). As mediator, Jesus is the final judge of all humans (John 5:22 & 27):Jesus is the Son of Man & can relate to each one that He is judging; and, as the Son of God, He can relate to God's concept of justice. Jesus is the perfect mediator (Evans, 2002).
THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE: Justice demands a sacrifice or payment for an offense (sin) against God. A sacrifice must be equal to the offense committed; and, to God, all sins are equally offensive. With any sin being an awful thing to an infinite God, we need a sacrifice of infinite value: it must be the sacrifice that He, Himself made for us, uniquely believed and honored in Christianity...Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. That is the meaning of the gospel: God met His own requirements for us (by providing/being the savior, mediator, and sacrifice... Jesus obtaining the general pardon for all of mankind).
THE ONLY RELIGION WHEREIN THE MEDIATOR AND THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE ARE ONE AND THE SAME: This combination of factors, provided in the person of Jesus, is unique to Christianity. Jesus is divine. Among other citations see John 6:20 where Jesus says "It is I [I...ego eimi..."I am"]; don't be afraid." See "Trinity" [here]
BASED on FACTS: While there is some factual material in other religions, most of them consist of philosophies or world views based on words or writings of a single human individual. Christianity, including the prophecies and co-beliefs embedded in Judaism, is extremely rich in fulfilled prophecy, documented facts by the hundreds (in at least 39 ancient, non-biblical sources), the testimony of numerous eye-witnesses, and the documented presence of hundreds-to-thousands of other witnesses. All of this is documented in copious historical documents which have been tested over the millennia by thousands of the best minds of the human race. No archaeological discovery has ever disproved a single Biblical reference! It is The Truth because the facts are there for all to see and for the believers to believe! Ironically, one of the surest ways for a skillfully investigative, truth-seeking doubter to become a Jesus believer is for that doubter to set out to disprove Jesus and Christianity.
mediator CLAIMS TO BE GOD and KING of kings and LORD of lords: Except that Judaism and Islam recognize the God of Abraham (who is "triune," and is thereby also Jesus), Jesus of Christianity is in a league of His own, by comparison to the key figure of all other religions: Jesus claims to be God (no leader of any other major religion has ever even pretended to be God). Seven secular sources and several very early creeds concern the deity of Jesus. And He, Himself, indicated that he is King of the Jews (Luke 23:3), while others indicate that He was and is King of kings and Lord of lords (Paul says so in I Timothy 6:15). And the angel says so in the revelation vision to John in Revelation 17:14; and John sees it written on Him, too, in Revelation 19:16, now and into eternity. In addition, in that status as King, Jesus will be the leader of the final war on earth and will be the final judge of every human who has ever lived (Revelation 19:11)!
Where is the reign of this King Jesus? How do we show our allegiance to Him? Jesus was never to be a political or conquering king. He rules by faith and not by force! He is King of a Kingdom that is in peoples' hearts...He asks for a person's heart! His throne is in the head & hearts of believers. Therefore, He rules & reigns through these followers as their lives reflect Him to all others.
POWER SOURCE: Other religions indicate blessings from the founder or from "gods"...even to the extent of perceiving answering of prayers in a positive way. Such answers may be coincidental. In Jesus, however, the born-again, true believer has the relational "plug" into the true, all-sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) power source of the universe...the one and only, true and living God. I'm not aware of stunning and miraculous and lifelong changes in lives by other religions that are a common and regular feature of true Christian believers: hardened sinners, scofflaws and criminals fully and nearly instantly changed. [see only a few examples] The changes true Jesus followers undergo and participate in are supernatural because True belief in Jesus brings the Holly Spirit to indwell the believer and be the needed supernatural power source. Through the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit, a believer now has the open door potential that scriptural truth be no longer closed, no longer foolish, and able to be understood with study so that there is no longer mystery in Scripture.
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