Does this statement shock you? Most people think Christianity is just another religion, no more or less valid than any other. But the Bible does not present Christianity as a religion at all. True Biblical Christianity is so far from man's concept of religion that it is wrong to even think of it as such.
The world would have us believe that all religions worship the same deity, that Allah, Ra, the Great Spirit, and Mother Earth are just different names for the God of the Bible. But Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jesus says that the only way to heaven is to follow Him. Either this is the most arrogant statement that any man has ever uttered or Jesus speaks with the authority of God Himself. This is a choice that each person must decide for themselves. It is the most important decision anyone can make in life because of its eternal ramifications.
Don't make the mistake of lumping Christianity in with the religions of the world. Consider the following four reasons why pure Christianity is unique from all the worlds religions.
No founder of any of the world's religions ever dared to claim what Jesus did. Jesus said He was God: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
The Jewish leaders who wanted to maintain their religion of legalism knew that when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, this meant that He said He was the same as God. In response, the religious leaders threatened Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God" (John 10:33). This attitude ultimately led to His crucifixion.
Jesus is the Creator of all things who took the form of a man to become our Savior (John 1:1-17, Philippians 2:5-8, Colossians 1:16-20).
No founder of any of the world's religions ever took the sins of his followers upon himself. Only Jesus became a sacrifice paying the penalty of sin so that His followers could enjoy everlasting life: "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Jesus came because He loves us and provided a way for us to have an eternal relationship with Him. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
No founder of any of the world's religions has ever been resurrected from the grave. The bones of Jesus will never be found. When the two Marys went to the grave of Jesus the third day after he was buried, they were met with an angel who told them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here" (Mark 16:6).
The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for our own resurrection, "for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
All of the world's religions require their followers to do something to earn salvation. But with Christ, everything that needs to be done has been done: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Beware of false Christian religions that add to the pure and simple good news about God's grace. These deceptive religions say that Christ's substitutionary, sacrificial death was not sufficient to save us, that you must do something yourself. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12).
Religion has done more to lead people away from Jesus Christ than anything else in this world. Religious rituals and liturgies deceive people into thinking that practicing them pleases God but the opposite is the case. God said that the good works we do trying to earn His favor "are like filthy rags" (Isa 64:6). Jesus condemned the Pharisees, a Jewish sect that taught you can earn salvation by following rules they derived from God's Law (Matthew 23:13-29). Jesus also said that religious people will be shocked to discover at their judgment that even doing things in Christ's name will not be good enough to get them into heaven if they had no relationship with Him (Matthew 7:21-23).
Pure Christianity is a personal relationship with God Himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus described His relationship to His followers in an analogy where He is the Shepherd and we are the sheep: "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own" (John 10:14).
Knowing each other is a necessary part of any relationship. For knowledge to grow between those in a relationship, there must be dialogue. God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, and we speak to Him in prayer. God communicates to us in more ways than through the Scriptures but these other means must always be consistent with Scripture or it is suspect.
If you don't have a relationship with Jesus but have read this far, the Holy Spirit is convicting you to take action. Don't take this lightly, it could be the last opportunity the Lord will give you to receive the free gift of an eternal relationship with Him.
To begin this relationship, you must accept the fact that no one can be good enough to earn passage to heaven, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). That if you chose to continue living in your unforgiven condition, you are condemning yourself to eternal punishment in hell (Revelation 20:12-14), "for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). And accept the good news, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).