I know that Christianity is different from other religions but can someone highlight the main differences and what sets it apart?
@Sgpage, Hi Sadie, Christianity’s unique claim is that it has a direct Revelation from God to his creation. Of the few other religions that claim to have a direct Revelation from God they all are aberrations of Christianity. All of the other world religions do not have a direct Revelation from God and as such are just man’s ideas. That’s just a thumbnail sketch I hope it answers a couple of questions.
in a nutshell the wrath of God Romans chapter 1 has been revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness…
Those two words that the apostle Paul uses are in a specific order ungodliness has to do with the relationship between man and God and it means that when we have an area of our life or our whole life that does not give glory to God and is not set apart to serve him that is ungodliness because we are not reflecting his character. unrighteousness has to do with how we behave towards each other our fellow man . all of the world religions except Christianity have this order mixed up they think that if you behave and do right things then you will become godly. But the problem is, as it is put in the scripture unless we “set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts” we can’t be godly (reflect his character). what this means is that when God shows us how to worship Him with everything we have, our lives begin to honor Him , and glorify Him . As God teaches us to live in this way it produces in us through his power alone a faith which helps us obey and love our fellow man (righteousness). because righteousness comes only after godliness has set in. Christianity says that God has promised to put Christ’s righteousness into us, it continues on in Romans “for the righteousness of God is revealed from Faith to Faith”. This means that God produces in us a faith that believes that God will accomplish in us what we could not accomplish in ourselves. In one more nutshell God does the work from the inside out to change us to be less like ourselves and more like him, he did this because of his great love for us he sent his son to die and pay our penalty because of his great wrath against ungodliness and unrighteousness. No other religion in the world has the cure for the disease of mankind which is sin (ungodliness and unrighteousness).
@Sgpage, that’s such a great question and it really hits at the heart of the Christian faith! I have often asked, “What is the difference between me as a Christian and the many wonderful, pious, religious friends and family members I know?” In one word, the answer is “Christ”.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Usually the religious minded try hard to make best use of their natural talents and resources for righteous purposes to qualify for a heavenly kingdom. Per most religions, we are all basically good people who just need to be better people. But the Bible says our problem is our sinful nature - of self-reliance apart from God that we inherited from Adam. So we dont just need to fix our sins but we need to be made new! Through faith in Christ, we are made new by the Holy Spirit! He becomes our guarantee as we are grafted into His life and righteousness. Its beginning where other religions seek to end! It’s a free gift! Its grace! What our sinful nature couldn’t atone for, Christ has atoned for. Only through the cross we simulataneously have forgiveness, justice, grace and power to be set free from our sinful nature by His Holy Spirit. We as Christians will see more of the Holy Spirit shine through our lives as we practice dying to our self-will. By laying our self-will (whether for good or bad), we die to our sinful nature, we are baptized into Christ’s death, so that we can also ultimately partake of His life. I think Paul’s statement in Galatians may help you visualize how Christianity is different from other religions:
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Rom 6:3-4 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
If you have to explain this to a non-christian, you would probably need to spend several hours or years to discuss each of the points. What I shared seems like basic gospel message but if people understand the need for man to be made new by the Holy Spirit, they will never say all religions are the same. The gospel humbles us yet exalts us at the same time! How blessed in Christ we are!
I really enjoyed contemplating on the grace of God as I put these thoughts down. Thanks for such a great discussion starter!
@Sgpage Great question As Ravi has said many times, world religions are superficially similar, but fundamentally different. Here are just a few thoughts about what makes Christianity unique.
- the nature of God - if we are to approach God we must worship the true and living God; not a god of our own imagining. Christianity claims to be the revelation of that one true God. Jesus told the woman at the well that the Samaritans worshiped “what you do not know” - in other words, they did not really know God, but worshiped a god of their own imagining. Christianity claims that Jesus is the one true God and that all other gods are nothing more than idols.
- Grace - in most religions you are saved by the good deeds you do, in Christianity you are saved by what God has done for you in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:8-9)
- holiness and love - in Christianity we see God’s love and His justice come together at the cross in a way that occurs in no other religion and as a result Christians are called to live holy lives and forgive and love their neighbor (James 1:27 - true religion love orphan/widow and remain unstained by the world) - only in Christianity can you uphold moral virtue while simultaneously loving those who violate it because of the cross
- the God of Christianity has left footprints in the historical record - He came down from Heaven Himself in Christ Jesus. The gods of other religions live only in myths, but the God of Christianity walked the earth 2000 years ago and grew up in a place called Nazareth.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” C. S. Lewis
These main ideas come to mind to keep it short. I am still amazed how counterintuitive these are to our human nature, our egos, and way of natural thinking.
Christianity- God sacrifices HIMSELF for us…and we are justified by faith, by belief, by confidence in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. His blood saves us and justifies us… makes us right before Him.
Others - work to be good, to achieve, to reach up to a standard of some ideal or some kind of god. It is based on your own effort and idea of goodness. No blood sacrifice.
Blessed is the person that does not work to be approved but places his/her faith in Christ and what He has done.
New American Standard Bible
But to the one who does not work , but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
@Sgpage Hi Sadie, thanks for bringing this great discussion to the community! It is wonderful to be reminded of the distinctive nature of our faith in Christ through these responses from everyone on this thread.
While we have reviewed some of the distinct themes of Christianity, we haven’t said a lot here about the specific contrasts with various religions. This is because different belief systems vary widely, and thus their most notable contrasts with Christianity vary as well. If you are interested in a resource for reviewing the most pronounced differences between Christianity and a particular belief system/ worldview/ religion, I recommend the concise and accessible book So What’s the Difference by F. Ridenour. It is a great outline of other worldviews and how the good news of the gospel both stands in contrast to them…and can speak freedom and salvation relevantly to the adherents of those systems.
In conversations with friends from other religions it has been really helpful for me to know about how the gospel speaks to their perspectives, needs, and values so that I understand better how to commend Christ to them.
Knowing what makes the gospel distinct in contrast to other religions is a great way to grow in your your faith and witness, Sadie. I hope this conversation helps you to better engage the people the Lord is bringing into your life! Are there any particular religions or belief systems you are engaging with right now?
Hey Sadie @Sgpage Basically, all other religions are mans attempt to reach God. Christianity is God’s attempt to reach man. You see, all other religions are based on doing good deeds to reach the climax/salvation be it heaven, nirvana etc. Christianity is the only faith were the good deeds are not required for salvation (rather good deeds should be our response for our love for God), it is the simple act of putting our faith and trust in Jesus that will earn us salvation. God made a way for us to be with him and have a relationship with him through Jesus, no other religion comes close to suggest that we can have a relationship with God because their view is that God is too lofty for us, but God came down in the human form of Jesus so that we can have a relationship with him, It’s incredible when you think about it! That’s what makes Christianity so unique.
Grace! That’s it, Grace. Grace is the thing that is unique to Christianity. No other religion has Grace as the means by which we are saved. All other religions have some system of merit in which you earn or deserve something to receive a reward for your service. Grace is what sets Christianity apart from all the other religions. “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.”
Even the faith we have is a gift from God, it’s not from ourselves.
The resurrection is not unique to Christianity, nor is the Incarnation unique to Christianity, although they are true, they are not unique doctrines or beliefs to Christianity. Grace is the only thing that sets Christianity apart from all the other world religions. Grace, and grace alone is unique in our Christian faith. “And of his fullness we have all received, and Grace for Grace. For the law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ.”—John 1:16-17.
I wonder if Christianity is the same as other world religions…conclusion? NO!
WHY NOT?world religions are man’s attempt to reach God. Versus
Christianity is GOD’S attempt to reach man!
That’s the difference!