Christianity Vs. Religion
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son [Jesus], whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."1
Karl Barth was lecturing to a group of students at Princeton. One student asked the renowned German theologian, "Sir, don't you think that God has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?" Barth's answer stunned the crowd. With a modest thunder he answered, "No, God has not revealed himself in any religion, including Christianity. He has revealed himself in his Son [Jesus]."2
People by nature are religious in that every person is born with a sense of a divine being, and at some point each person decides whether to accept that belief, enquire into it, or reject it. Many choose the belief, as the saying goes, that "all roads lead to Rome," and all religions lead to God. Not true.
In one sense religion is man's search for God primarily through his own efforts, or through a man-made religion. On the other hand, Jesus (or real Christianity) is God's search for man. And that makes all the difference in the world. Because we are all sinners, it is impossible for us to save ourselves through our own efforts or any man-made religion. This is why God, in his eternal love for us, sent his own Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins. Mankind's salvation is thus found in Jesus Christ alone. There is no other way.
Narrow? Yes. But had there been any other way, why would Jesus have come to earth as a man to die an excruciating death on a Roman cross to pay the penalty for our sins? As Jesus said, "Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it."3
So the important question is not, are you religious? Or, do you belong to a Christian denomination, or are you a member of a Christian church, but have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Is your trust in him and him alone for your eternal salvation? As Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me."4
If in doubt, be sure to read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christianówithout having to be religious" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for your 'so great salvation' provided through the death of your Son, Jesus, on the cross for my sins and to give to me the gift of eternal life. And Jesus, because you died for me, help me to live for you always in all ways. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV).
2. Rev. John H. Pavelko, "Avoiding a Troubled Heart."
3. Matthew 7:14 (NIV).
4. John 14:6 (NIV).