This list should look familiar to you - it is the top 10 New Years’ resolutions most commonly made in America. I'm not sure what yours were, but, if you notice, there aren't any resolutions here involving faith or religion. Most people (63%) who make New Years’ resolutions break them within a month. Does this list match up with yours?
More than that, most people make "deals" with God, and they break their promise all the time. Think about it: How many times have you said, "God if you help me here, or if you help me out of this, I will..."? Far too many times people view God as a genie instead of the God of the universe!
I found some interesting info in regards to the American population and its confessions of faith. You see, 83% of Americans self-identify as Christian. Now, some people may say that the previous statistic seems legit, but let me ask you a question: “Do you think that 83% of people around you are living like a Christian?"
In today's world of "fluid theology," people act like anything and everything can change depending on how he feels and/or thinks instead of what the unchanging Word of God says. Because of this, we should expect many people to not be living out the Christian lifestyle. In this post-modern world, so many people are convinced that they can decide what truth really is.
So my next question is, what is religious truth? Is it something that you can decide to be true for you and not someone else? I'm not speaking of preferential things like your favorite pizza or if you even like pizza. I'm speaking about the one, true religion. What happens after we die? Can Christianity and Jehovah’s Witness both be right? Can Islam and Buddhism both be right? Because all religions conflict in some way with each other, at most one of them can be right and the others must be wrong in some way. There are absolutes in this world no matter how hard you try to deny it.
Jesus makes bold statements throughout the New Testament that speak on the exclusivity of Christianity. As we read in John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jesus makes 4 bold statements about Himself and His deity in this one small verse that make Christianity stand out from every other religion.
First, Jesus said, "I am the way," meaning that He is the only way (exclusivity). Then He said, "(I am) The truth," meaning that He is the only truth (exclusivity). Thirdly, He said "(I am) the life," meaning that He is the only source of life (exclusivity). He finishes this verse up with an even more powerful statement, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (exclusivity). He is the only way into the presence of God; He is the only way unto salvation. He is the only way to have our sins forgiven. Christ is exclusive.
Many of the world religions, with the exception of Christianity, allow for other religions to be right in some way or another. It is important to note, however, that unless two religions are identical, they can’t both be completely right. One major exclusive trait of Christianity has to do with salvation. Every religion on this planet, besides Christianity, is works-based to some degree. You have to work your way into a higher state, heaven, paradise or into the nothingness. Christianity, however, is not a works-based religion. Well, not your works anyway! It is completely faith based: by grace, through faith, in Christ alone! Your salvation is based off of Jesus' works, not our own. It is based on His perfect life, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.
You see, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have all offended a righteous, just, and Holy God. We deserve nothing more than His unmitigated wrath poured out on us all for all of eternity. “But God so loved the world… (John 3:16)” - The most beautiful statement. He loved you and He paid for your sins on the cross. He took the penalty that you owe by being the propitiation for your sins. It is about Him and His works, not yours. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
As you can see, it is not about your works. It is about you repenting of your sin, turning from trying to work your way into heaven, and putting your faith in Jesus, so that you can be saved.
I pray you see the difference between Christianity and every other "religion" out there. Acts 4:12 is speaking of Jesus when it says, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Christianity is exclusive and that's ok. It actually makes it more beautiful that way- what a glorious Gospel we have! That should make you want to shout if from the rooftops!
This is Biblical Christianity. As I said earlier, 83% of Americans self identify as Christian. If that were true, this country would be drastically different. God is no genie, and He does not bow to your terms. There are absolutes in this world, and that includes religion and salvation. Christianity is absolutely true, and it's absolutely the only way.
He is sovereign over all!