In this last post, I want to reveal the primary reason I believe “Christianity” is true. And remember, I’m not alking about the religion of Christianity, but the aspect of my life where I believe in Jesus for eternal life, and try to follow His leading and His example.
It seems that most studies in comparative religion look at all the various options, find the scores upon scores of similarities between the religions, and conclude that “they are basically all the same.” To me, that’s like taking an orange, an apple, and a mango and saying, “They all basically round, they’re all fruits, they can all be eaten, they all grow on trees,… so they are all the same.” Yet as everybody knows, these three fruits are certainly not all the same. You distinguish them not by focusing on the similaraties, but by focusing on the differences.
When it comes to “Christianity” and all other religions, there seems to be one primary difference: grace. (Diane and William mentioned this in the comment section of the previous post!) Grace is the reason I believe “Christianity” as true. Grace makes Christianity unique, and grace provides the only way for sinful people to be restored to God. Without grace, Christianity is just another religion.
And I don’t mean the weak-kneed concept of grace that is found in most our churches where we talk and teach it, but don’t really believe it. No, I mean true, no restrictions, no fine print, limitlness, boundless, liberating grace.
Let me be clear. As I observe people of all religions (including many Christians), most have a concept of grace. But the popular religious idea of grace does not come close to what I believe the Bible teaches about grace. Most religious people (including most “Christians”) believe that we have to gain and maintain a certain level of morality in order to stay in God’s good graces, in order to please and appease God. Most religious people I have talked to, speak about being “saved by the grace of God” (or some sort of similar terminology). But as I ask more questions, and dig a little deeper, I find that most people believe that God’s grace only extends as far as our obedience. If we rebell against Him, or persistently act contrary to His will and commands, He removes His grace from us. For many, being a recipient of God’s grace means that God gives us the grace (or gift) of having the power and ability to obey God.
This is not what I believe about grace, nor is it what I believe the Bible teaches about grace. I believe the Bible teaches that God’s grace is without limit, stipulations, or conditions. Once we have received God’s grace through faith in Jesus, there is nothing we can do or say to separate ourselves from God’s grace. His grace covers all sin, past, present, and future.
When people of most religions hear this (even “Christians”), they often say, “Well then, why can’t you just go out and sin all you want?”
When I hear that, I know I have done a good job explaining grace. This is the same reaction Paul got when he explained grace (cf. Romans 6:1). If your understanding of God’s grace does not lead to this objection, then let me suggest that you don’t understand grace.
So why do I think that grace separates “Christianity” from the rest of religions? Because grace teaches us that God, who loves us, wants so much for things to be restored between us and Him, that He did everything necessary to restore that relationship. He left nothing up to us. God knew that if He left anything up to us as far as obedience is concerned, all of us would fail. Without grace, nobody could be sure they were good enough, obedient enough, holy enough to be on “God’s good side.” But with grace, all of the fear and effort fades away, and we can simply focus on enjoying the presence (and presents) of God.
So there it is. Why is Christianity true? I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to it’s “trueness,” most of which, however, can be found in other religions as well. But the one characteristic which sets Christianity apart from all other religions is grace. And grace is the only way for sinful people to get back into a relationship with a holy God.