Let us begin with some basics- before we get into the meat of Christianity - (which you will find even this first part quite meaty to chew on)
Christianity is monotheistic, meaning there is only one God. Yet - in Christianity God exists in three persons. The “Trinity” (this word is not found in the bible. It is a term that is used to help describe the triune God) —three coexisting, co-eternal Persons who are one God existing in 3 Persons.
When one first looks at Christianity it seems to convey that it is a religious system much like Islam and Judaism are religious systems. They all have religious structures, foundational beliefs, rules, leaders, written text, and standards that must be mastered in order to achieve some ultimate "happy ending" and ways to avoid a "bad ending."
Yet Christianity does not fit that definition - it stands out like no other.
Why? You may ask -
Firstly, Jesus did not come into the world to start another religion. He did not receive some divine vision, He did not happen upon some sacred tablets, He did not have some unpleasant upbringing where He sought the spirit world for power to rule over those who oppressed Him and His family and community.
Jesus is the very Son of God- born of the virgin Mary - (Matthew 1:18-2:23)
You see, there were already plenty of religions (Acts 17:22–23), including Judaism - the very religion that foretold of the coming Messiah - who is in fact Jesus Christ - the Son of God and Savior of the world found
in Christianity. Judaism had begun as a relationship with God but over time turned into just another religious system (Matthew 15:8).
What makes Christianity stand out amongst the others is that it was not a religion started by a mere human. It is the only "religion" where God came to man and not man reaching or searching to find God.
It is not a religion in the sense that we have to attain some level of goodness to make a god or gods appeased - there will never be enough good that we can do on our own to attain the level of the Most High
God - who is holy.
Why is this so important to know and understand?
"God’s holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else. God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence. God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes us to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to comprehend just a little of His majesty."
The purpose of Christianity is the opposite of all others - Christians are not to focus on their abilities or their efforts in reaching some level unknown - transcendent - unspecified goodness. No - Christianity is the realization we cannot hit the mark of perfection on our own efforts -but that we can rest in the One who can and did - Jesus Christ.
The very thing that makes us "accepted" by God is to surrender our human, striving, works oriented, self focused, lives to a good and loving - holy God - who sent His Holy Son - Jesus Christ - to die on a cross on our behalf as payment for our sin so that we might have eternal life in heaven.
Let's break it down even more simply : • Jesus is the Son of God and is equal with God (John 1:1, 49; Luke 22:70; Mark 3:11; Philippians 2:5–11) (the promised Messiah) • Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:29) • Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:2–4) • Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:46; Mark 16:6) • We are saved by the grace of God; that is, we cannot add to or take away from Christ’s finished work on the cross as full payment for our sin (Ephesians 2:8–9)
One of the more difficult aspects of Christianity is when Jesus made this claim -
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
At first glance this may seem very arrogant and narrow minded. For many it becomes a stumbling block to faith. Many believe that Jesus was very arrogant in saying this - yet He said it out of great compassion, not arrogance. Christians believe that when you look closer at this statement - it makes ultimate sense.
Christians would most likely agree that this statement is one of the most critically important bits of information ever given to you personally.
So why is this claim so controversial? Because it hits a "all roads lead to the same god nerve."
Many believe that if you strip all religions down to their basic beliefs, all religions are fundamentally the same thing — so it doesn’t really matter which one you follow. In other words, all spiritual paths lead up the same mountain because all religions basically teach the same thing.
But do they?
God came to us to draw our hearts back to Himself through conviction of sin and hope and confidence of forgiveness (John 6:44).
Christianity calls this - Salvation - which is the divine exchange:
Jesus becomes our sin so that we can become His perfection (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This is the gospel of Christianity.
So, if the path to God (in Christianity) is through Jesus, then Christianity cannot be joined with
any other religion. This uniqueness of Christianity is rooted in the uniqueness of Jesus
Himself. It has been said that other religious leaders say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how
to find truth,” but Jesus says, “I am the truth.”
"They would say, “Follow me and I’ll show you the way to salvation,”
but Jesus says, “I am the way to eternal life.” They would say, “Follow me and I’ll show you how to become enlightened,” but Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” They would say, “Follow me and I’ll show you many doors that lead to God,” but Jesus says, “I am the door.”
Then, He simply invites us - “So follow Me.”"
Do you see the difference?
Jesus is the one person who can speak with real authority and experience concerning the afterlife since
He came from there: “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son
of Man” (John 3:13-3:17)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room
in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for
you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I
am.” (John 14:1–3).