About a year ago, I was involved in a Facebook discussion about world religions on a friend’s page. Some of the other people in the discussion were not Christians. One guy named Mike was very skeptical and challenging, but since he was being respectful, I decided to do my best to answer his questions.
Mike had several concerns. He believed that all world religions are equally valid and that they all lead to God. He wanted to know why we believe that Jesus is the only way to God and why we believe He is more worthy than other gods or spirits.
I admit that I felt a bit of panic. I wasn’t sure exactly how to explain. If we had been face-to-face, I probably would have messed it up. I know in my heart why Jesus is worthy, but how to put it into words?
Since we were on Facebook, I took a few minutes and prayed that God would give me the right words. Almost immediately, an answer for Mike came into my mind. This is what spilled out on my keyboard:
How do I know that Jesus is more worthy than other gods or spirits? My answer is this - Jesus is the only one who died for us. No other god has done that.
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -- Romans 5:7-8
It is not possible for anyone to be “good enough” to please God. We are all sinners - every single one of us. God is holy and cannot bear sin. The penalty for sin is death. That is why He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for us. He knew that we could not be perfect under our own power.
All religions in the world fall into two main categories: legalism and mysticism.
Legalism teaches that you must follow certain rules or rituals in order to please God and gain His favor. (examples: Judaism, Islam and some forms of Christianity).
Mysticism teaches that you need to meditate, turn inward and follow your heart to reach a higher level of consciousness. (examples: Buddhism, Hinduism and New Age beliefs).
In a nutshell, all religions in the world require humans to work to reach God. They all require an effort on the part of the human. What makes Jesus so unique is that he reached down to us without any action on our part.
Those of us who are “born again” are simply people who have admitted our sin and our inability to please God. We have accepted that Jesus has paid the penalty for us and we put our trust in him to bridge the gap that sin placed between us and God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” -- Ephesians 2:8-9
Being a born-again person is not a religion at all, it is a relationship. We fall under the banner of Christianity (meaning we follow Christ), but we do not believe that anything further is required on our part except to maintain our relationship with Christ and do our best to please him. We maintain our relationship with Him just as we would maintain any healthy relationship on earth. We communicate with Him; we admit when we hurt Him (sin) and ask for forgiveness; and we do our best to learn more about Him and understand Him.
At this point, Mike dropped out of the discussion. I like to think that he had a lot to think about. I have prayed for him ever since. I also pray that God will direct others to this page who need this question answered too.
I believe that time is very short, and events are winding down on this earth. There are many people that I love and care about who need to hear the truth. I don’t want to ever be confronted with one of them saying “Why didn’t you tell me?”
As born-again believers, we are sometimes hesitant to talk about this. Our culture is increasingly hostile to the salvation message. We have been mocked, challenged and accused of “preaching”. This opposition is becoming more and more aggressive. We live in the constant state of tension between cultural pressure to keep quiet and our deep heart’s desire to tell others.
We are sometimes accused of thinking we are better than everybody else. It is true that there are some who come across this way and are too assertive, immature in their faith, over-eager and clumsy. But if we are honest, we know that we have nothing to brag about. We have only accepted a gift. We are simply forgiven. Forgiven for everything.
If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, I ask you to simply listen. The reason we are telling you is because we love you. Please don’t be offended, even if you don’t believe what we are saying. Just know that we do believe. Most of us don’t want to “shove it down your throat”. (We are aware that there are some who do this). We just need to know that you have heard us and that we have done our best to communicate the most important truth in our lives. We simply ask that you consider what we are saying, but please don’t wait too long.
(For further information and scripture, please click on the “Salvation” tab at the top of this page)