“Jesus said, ‘…I am the way…’”
What is the essential difference between the world’s many religions and Christianity? In answer to that question, the Bible is unapologetically clear about God’s 33½ years of public self-revelation. That revelation explains why the world’s many “works based” spiritual paths can never lead to heaven! This is why people everywhere need to understand the uniqueness of Christ’s solitary way. He explained that “…narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few will find it.” (Matthew 7:14) So, you and those you love, will definitely want to be among the blessed number that discover and take heaven’s narrow road!
Consider the Lord’s sobering prophetic words, “only a few will find it.” This is in spite of the fact that everyone has already been openly invited. Remember, Jesus said, “if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) No sinner has ever been unloved, and all have been drawn to the Savior.
Gaining a core understanding of comparative religion and the world’s wide array of cults is far easier than most people might think. With the exception of Buddhism, which stresses inner enlightenment and presents no clearly defined person of God; the other non-Christian world religions share a single underlying philosophy. Their thought process universally teaches that salvation depends on various kinds of work. These are believed to be acts for which a seeker can take credit and therefore earn God’s acceptance. Christianity, however, is radically different – it functions on the principle of receiving God’s grace that cannot be earned!
On the critical issues of heaven and salvation, the distance between the opposing theologies of grace and works are so great that they have nothing in common. Earning one’s salvation is the center of the world’s many man-centered religious belief systems. They all dismiss the importance of forgiveness that emanates from God’s – love! Uniquely, Christianity alone explains that forgiveness was made possible through the self-sacrifice of a perfect, sinless, Savior! The author of Hebrews wrote, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
The Bible teaches that only one initial work on our part can ever please God. That one life-changing action of deliberate faith is “…believing on the One whom He has sent.” (John 6:29) The impact of that confidence placed in God’s Son confirms the timeless good news presented in the New Testament! Speaking about His own incarnation and death on the cross, the Lord Jesus declared, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
Belief, like marriage, is a choice. Both require a decision based on facts, trust, and feelings. The blessing of one’s spiritual union with Christ is that it never ends, and He never hurts or disappoints us. He is the same, “…yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Our works are simply designed to show the Lord how much we love Him. Jesus explained this saying, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.” (John 14:21) In contrast, the Bible specifically teaches that our works have no saving power. Christianity’s message is consistent, “…by grace you have been saved, through faith … not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Jesus taught that our works should naturally follow our faith because they demonstrate our heart’s devotion. However, they are completely powerless to redeem anyone. Scripture says, “A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law.” (Romans 3:28, NCV)
Today, as you pray for the opportunity to share your faith, prepare yourself to explain the principle of grace, because that’s God’s only way to heaven.
By Billie Hanks Jr.