What about other religions?

We find ourselves in December. It’s hard to believe how quickly the year has flown by. Christmas is almost upon us! Christmas serves as a wonderful reminder of the gift of Jesus Christ -God’s incarnate Son in human form. Jesus is described in the Bible as a gift from God. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But what does this mean for us versus some other religions? Well, we live in a world of choice and variety don’t we?! There are so many different ones out there to choose from it seems. Well the Bible teaches us that there is only one way to truly be with God. There is only one way to get the promise of eternal life as mentioned above. Jesus himself said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So what this means is that Jesus is the ONLY way to get to the Father (God). If we want to spend eternity with God, we must give our lives to Christ.

What sets Christ apart from other deities we may hear about? Well, as I mentioned, Jesus was God’s son. He was willing to step down from heaven, and take on human form, and live here on earth. He went through trials and temptations while on earth, he experienced things like hunger and fatigue, and also went through some of the tougher emotions we endure such as sorrow and grief. That should serve as a terrific comfort to us. Further to this, Jesus was willing to lay down his life for mankind.

His death points us back to a prophecy from the Old Testament. In Isaiah chapter 53, we read of a suffering servant who was “despised and rejected”, who was “pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” Jesus was willing to go through what He did because of His love for mankind. When Jesus died on the cross, He was the ultimate sacrifice for our sin. This means that we can ask God to forgive us for our sins. There is the promise of eternal life for those who follow Him.

After Jesus had died, he was laid to rest in a tomb. But he was not there long. After the Sabbath (Jesus died on the Friday), some of Jesus’ followers visited His tomb. But to their surprise He wasn’t there. Instead, an angel was present and said to Jesus’ followers “Jesus is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Even with his death, Jesus did something spectacular – he rose again!

If we also consider the world around us, I believe this points to a creator God and sets Christianity apart. The planet we inhabit is full of such beauty, mystery and diversity. It points to a creator/a designer. Someone has thought the design of the world through. At the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1:1, we read “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” You can read the rest of Genesis chapter 1 to see God creating the various aspects of the things we see on earth.

Furthermore, consider how the components of nature work with one another (what we might call an ecosystem). We see countless examples where plants/animals work with/depend on other plants/animals and everything is held in balance. Does that happen by chance? Well I struggle to think so. It surely points to a creator.

What about us as human beings? We are so complex! Our make-up is so incredible. Not just in terms of how we are physically, but consider how complex the other areas of our lives are – spiritual and emotional for example. Again, this surely must point to the fact that we have been designed by the same designer that we read about in Genesis chapter 1.

In the Old Testament, David writes about how amazing the design of human beings truly is. He writes in Psalm 139:13-14 – “you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful”. What wonderful truths written by David. We are so complex. There are things about us that science has even yet to discover. Such is the marvelousness of our design by God!

If we think about today, we have the Holy Spirit to help us in our everyday living. In John 14:16, Jesus promises the disciples that when He leaves earth, he will give the disciples a “Helper” – this is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in us and through us. The Holy Spirit speaks and guides us. This, again, is a key distinction when we think about Christianity. What a wonderful encouragement for us to know there is this “Helper” for us on a daily basis.

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