If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, irrespective of what denomination, here is something to consider: Do you really believe that Jesus is uniquely different and superior to any other person or belief system? And if so, are we arrogant in thinking this? Is faith in Christ just another option in the spiritual smorgasbord set before us? What is wrong with someone choosing a different option?
The simple answer to that is that we are all entitled to make our own choices, Christianity, Muslim, Buddhist or one of the many Eastern religions. Perhaps simply Agnostic or Atheist. What’s the difference, well the dictionary will tell you “Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and are agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact”.
Putting aside the Agnostic or Atheist position, what’s the difference between Easter religions, Buddhism or the Muslim faith? Please make no mistake, I don’t hold any animosity to these religions, they are, in general, followed by good people seeking answers to what we might call ‘The big picture’. Is there a God, a greater deity, a meaning to life?
My answer to that is that most other religions focus on self-improvement, earning your way towards God and gaining His favour by good works. Let me be very clear, there is nothing wrong with serving your community and helping people, in whatever way you feel led. BUT, as a Christian, you know, or should know, this doesn’t please God, because He sent His Son to die in your place, for your sins. You are now under His grace.
Can you imagine facing God after you die and telling Him all the good things you did to help people? I believe He would say to you, “I sent my own Son to die in pain and misery in your place, how do your good works compare with that?”
If we were to keep an accounts book, rather like the old accounting ledgers, good deeds on one side, sins on the other, how would it balance up, and be honest with yourself. We all sin one way or another, sad but true.
In the Old Testament you went to the temple, at least every year, and made a sacrifice for your sins. You actually needed to place your hand on the animal’s body to know that it was dying in your place. That covered you for one year, but you had to sacrifice the very best animal you had, not the one that you couldn’t sell at the market due to its imperfections. It’s a culture that’s strange to us in these days, but it was the law.
Consider the Passover in Egypt, the Jews had to put the blood of a lamb over their doorways so the Spirit of God would pass over their homes. God sends a plague down on Egypt (darkness, lice, boils, cattle disease, etc.). The tenth and final plague is the most drastic: the killing of the first born by the so-called angel of death. In order to protect their first-born children, the Israelites marked their doors with lamb’s blood so the angel of death would pass over them.
It’s important to note that the Angel of death didn’t even look into the homes that were protected, the blood of the lamb was all that was needed.
God made the ultimate sacrifice for us, He gave the best He has, His Son. We can’t ever earn out way to God, even at our best, we are sinful to one degree or another. God is perfect, sadly we are not, even the best of us.
Jesus is the Lamb of God, you can’t earn your way to God, you don’t have to, by the death of Christ, it’s done. By accepting Him as your Saviour, you are under grace, bought for you by Christ. You may struggle with that, but its true. Your sins have been paid for by Jesus, sins past, present and future. Jesus loves you; He is just waiting for you to love Him.
Resident in Portugal for 50 years, publishing and writing about Portugal since 1977. Privileged to have seen, firsthand, Portugal progress from a dictatorship (1974) into a stable democracy.