We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light.
For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.
We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
a song that shall conquer evil and shatter the spear and sword.
We’ve a message to give to the nations, that the Lord who reigneth above
has sent us His Son to save us, and show us that God is love.
We’ve a Saviour to show to the nations, who the path of sorrow has trod,
that all of the world’s great peoples may come to the truth of God.
by H. Ernest Nichol (1862-1928)
There are many religions in the world we live in and we generally coexist well.
BUT what do they offer?
In looking at some of these belief systems and their views of God, we find tremendous diversity:
The world’s religions (such as Hinduism, New Age, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity-following Jesus Christ) are each quite unique. But of these only one affirms that there is a personal, loving God who can be known, now in this life. Jesus Christ spoke of a God who welcomes us into a relationship with Him and comes along side us as a comforter, counsellor and powerful God who loves us.
Can a person connect with God in this life?
Not only can you connect with God, you also can know that you are fully accepted and loved by God — regardless of what you might call your “religion”, “domination” or even “the branch” of such religion. Many religions place an individual, on their own, striving for spiritual perfection.
Buddha, never claimed sinlessness. Muhammad, at one time, admitted that he was in need of forgiveness. It’s nice to know that they were imperfect just like the rest of us.
Jesus Christ, however was sinless. 1 John 3:5, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.” Instead, Jesus forgave people of their sin and he wants to forgive us of our sin also. We all are aware of our faults, the areas of our lives that may cause others to think less of us, areas that we ourselves wish were not there…maybe it’s an addiction, a bad temper, impurity, hateful remarks. God loves us but hates sin, and he has said that the consequence for sin is separation from knowing him. But God provided a way for us to be forgiven and know him. Jesus, the Son of God, God in human form, took all of our sin on himself, suffered on a cross, and willingly died in our place. The Bible says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16
God is offering us complete forgiveness because of Jesus’ death for us. Religion does not do this for us. This means forgiveness for all our sins…past, present and future. Jesus paid for them all. God, who created the universe, loves us and wants to be in a relationship with us. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, [showed his love to us] that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9 God reached toward humanity, providing real freedom from our sin and guilt. He does not leave a person’s failures on their shoulders, with a dim hope of becoming a better person tomorrow. “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Religion doesn’t offer an eternal life, but Christianity does.
Many religions focus on a person’s spiritual efforts. Religion is summed up in the word: DO. This is man trying to DO different things to please God and earn His favour. Religion has a lot of doctrines, rules, do’s and don’ts to follow. An example might be as in the Catholic faith, when one goes to confession, the priest isn’t forgiving you with a few hail Marys and your free to go. These are rituals that the church has established over the years. But, without the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ your sins have not been wiped away.
The religious person is busy “working” (doing good works) in order to be saved.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Christians are saved for good works not by their works. This is the natural growth of a relationship with Jesus.
The saved person is “not working” but is RESTING upon the finished work of Another, that other is Jesus. Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Being a Christian is being in a Relationship with Jesus
With Jesus Christ it’s a two-way interaction between you and God. It doesn’t mean that life will become perfect and free of problems. But it means that in the midst of these problems, you can relate to God who is willing to be involved in your life and faithful in His love. This is why Jesus came to earth as a man, to be human and experience the same kinds of things we do. He knows what we go through, and knows that we don’t have to do it on our own.
Our hope is not in following laws of man or standards, but in knowing a Saviour who fully accepts us because of our faith in Him and His sacrifice for us. We don’t earn our place in heaven by religious efforts or good deeds by themselves — faith is required. As well, faith without works is dead. James 2:17-20 (17)“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…” A faith that does not demonstrate itself in works is not genuine. James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Faith in Jesus fills us with that love do do His good works here on earth for His glory.
Heaven is a free gift to us, when we begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is summed up in one word: DONE. This is Christ dying on the cross to save man in his sin. John 19:30, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”