How Christianity is Different from All Other Religions
I saw a meme the other day that was trying to show how all religions are basically the same. It said that the basic premise of Christianity could be summed up in the Golden Rule…”So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” Matthew 7:12. Then it showed how other major religions had similar instructions. I believe the intent behind the meme came from a good place, of wanting to bring people together, and it's a popular idea- but it’s completely wrong.
The golden rule is shared by all major religions because it’s a law that God put on our hearts. We know in our conscience, whether we’re Christian or not, that this is the right way to live. It’s a good rule- but it’s not the basic premise of Christianity.
The basic premise of Christianity is that we are all sinners, saved by grace through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 5:20-21 (ESV)
Matthew 7:12 (the Golden Rule) plainly states, “…for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The Law is a good thing, put in place by God, but there’s more to Christianity than that. If we only had the Law, we would all be hopeless. There isn’t anyone who has kept the Law perfectly, except Jesus.
I think most of us think of ourselves as pretty good people. We try, right? There are always other people that we can look at and compare ourselves to, who are far worse than we are. No. We have all sinned. The law helps us to see why we need grace. The more we understand the depth and consequences of our sin, the more precious that grace that we’ve been given becomes to us. The better we understand law and grace, the more our hearts are changed, so that we want to follow God’s Law- not out of obligation or to earn a place in heaven, but out of love for Jesus, wanting to bring glory to the One who loved us first.
This is why I love to write about grace so often. I know I need it. We all do. It is through grace that we find forgiveness. The more I learn about grace, the more my love for God grows. The basic premise of Christianity comes down to the fact that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. The grace that has been given to us through Jesus Christ is the only reason that we are free to take on Christ’s righteousness and enjoy being in the presence of God and his glory, eternally.
I believe that mankind does have God’s law written on their hearts, because he made us in his image, and we were created for his glory. It's the Holy Spirit who brings these things to light and draws us toward God. All religions are not basically the same. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to mankind, making a way for a relationship with Him. All other religions are about man’s attempt to live out the law, in an attempt to appease God. They’re missing grace.
Grace is available to all (no sin is too great), through Jesus Christ- and it is the only way to salvation.
I love the way that John Wesley summed this up so perfectly in one of his inspired hymns….
-John Wesley, O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
I’ll include the David Crowder version of this beautiful song for you, if you have an extra moment to listen. It’s an incredible song.