Is Christianity for Real? by Michael Owens
With so many different religions practiced all over the world, it sometimes makes you wonder what’s real and what’s fake. From Islam to Scientology, some religions even become trendy when certain movie and pop stars practice them. Given all the roads that the world claims lead to God, what’s so special about Christianity? Why is it better than any other religion? Is Jesus really all that?
Truthfully, being a Christian is what’s up because Jesus is real. God loved us enough to send us a Savior Who could cleanse us from the sin that separates us from Him. Jesus’ love is so real that He put His life on it. You probably know the story of how He came into the world and lived the kind of life that many strive for—a sin-free life that positively impacts others. He was the only One qualified to be a sacrifice for you and me, and He demonstrated His love for us when He went to the Cross (John 15:13).
One of the big differences between the major religions of the world and Christianity is that Christianity is the only path that disqualifies man from being able to earn his way into heaven through good works or self-improvement. That’s where the other religions go wrong. As human beings, we are naturally full of sin, and the only chance we have at salvation is through Jesus. If you were “good” enough to get to heaven on your own, there would be no point for His death, burial and resurrection.
All of the founders of the world religions are dead except one, and that’s Jesus. Even though He died on the cross, He rose from the grave three days later. His tomb is empty! On top of that, He went to hell and whipped the Devil by taking back the keys to death, hell and the grave. Right now, He is seated at the right hand of God praying for you and me. He is ready to save, heal and forgive anyone who believes in Him.
The Christian Life
There are many benefits to being a Christian. Jesus didn’t suffer just so you could live an average life and eventually get to heaven. He wants you to live the “good life” right here on earth. Third John 2 lets you know that God wants you to prosper and be in good health. He wants you to be healthy, happy and prosperous in every area of your life.
Christianity is not a “hocus pocus” religion. The Bible is not a magic book, and God is not a magician; anything worth having takes a commitment. To receive God’s benefits requires that you study His Word and learn how to live in line with Him. When you take the time to read and meditate on the Bible, He will show you how to be successful in life (Joshua 1:8).
Unlike a lot of other religions, Christianity doesn’t tell you to follow a bunch of traditions. In fact, instead of looking at your faith as a religion, start looking at it as a relationship—one in which you get to know God as your Father. You can talk to Him, and He will talk back to you and help you through every situation you face. Being a Christian means having a Savior Who backs you up and forgives you when you mess up. Besides that, when you make Jesus your Lord and Savior, you are guaranteed a spot in heaven. That’s something that no religion can promise you, no matter how good it sounds. Because of the blood of Jesus, your sins are forgiven. When you make a commitment to follow Him, you don’t have to worry that the bad things you did will keep you outside of the pearly gates.
There are some who say, “I can get to heaven without believing in Jesus.” The truth of the matter is that nobody can get to God except through Jesus (John 14:6). You may have been told a different story, but that’s the hard truth. You see, a lot of religions seem to honor God, but they won’t acknowledge that Jesus was His Son or that He is the Savior of the world. If a religion doesn’t preach this, then it’s not of God. Even though a religion’s philosophy may sound good, if Jesus isn’t at the center of it, then it’s a false religion.
Remember that all deception contains a little bit of truth; religions such as Buddhism and Islam talk about doing good for others, helping the poor and taking a stand for nonviolence. While these things are all good, there is still something missing—salvation through faith in Jesus.
Let’s take a look at Islam. This religion was established when the angel, Gabriel, supposedly visited a man named Mohammad and told him to “recite,” or preach, what he was told in his “vision.” That vision is now written in the Quran, which is the “holy” book of Islam. Muslims believe that they can earn their way into heaven by doing a lot of good works and by following the rules laid out in the Quran. Islam also teaches that while Jesus was a great prophet, he was not the Son of God, and he was not crucified on the cross. The followers of Islam believe that Mohammad is the true prophet of God and that people should follow him instead of Jesus.
What people don’t know is that Islam took many of its writings from the Bible and came into being only after Christianity was widespread. That’s right; the Bible existed before the establishment of all of the major religions that are practiced today, including Islam. Most of them take principles directly from the Word!
Hinduism is another false religion that requires that its followers worship many different idols that it believes are gods. This goes against God’s commandment to put no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3). Buddhism teaches its followers that the way to spiritual freedom is through following the “eightfold path” and the teachings of Buddha. None of these beliefs, however, line up with Scripture.
Freedom in Christ
If you think about it, Jesus has the most famous name in the world. Even those who don’t believe in Him know Who He is. Almost anyone you meet can tell you something about Him. Have you ever noticed that when most people get in a stressful situation, they call His name? People use it all the time, even though they don’t have a relationship with Him.
Those who do get to know Him by making Him the Lord of their lives find out that being a Christian is truly the only way to live. The Gospel of Jesus is so powerful that it can change a person’s life in just seconds. The movie, The Passion of the Christ, displayed that power. People worldwide were moved to grow in their relationships with the Lord and live better lives after seeing it. Just months ago people were pushing God out of everything and now everywhere you look, you see Jesus—news and entertainment shows are talking about Jesus and doing stories on His life.
Being a Christian is the best thing you can do because it is the only logical response to someone Who loved you enough to give His life up for you. Jesus is alive, and He wants to empower you to be all that He created you to be—a person of power, influence and love on this earth. He wants to show you how to be like Him and do great and mighty works for Him. So the question is: Who will you choose to serve?
Romans 5:17-19Amplified Bible (AMP)
17 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
18 Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.
19 For just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, [a]heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him).