What’s the Difference?!
I have had people tell me that there is nothing special about Christianity, because it is just another religion. In 2019, the most dangerous thing for someone to do is to make Christianity seem like every other religion (I say religion, but that’s a discussion for a whole other article). But why? Because it makes the message of the Gospels seem like just another story made up by men. This is what we know as followers of Jesus: that following Christ is the true salvation for all people.
One of the most common things that I have heard from people is, “Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in the same God and are therefore the same religion. Because of that, it doesn’t matter what religion you follow because they’re all the same.”
Tough question right?
Not having an answer prepared for this can stop any discussion you’re having right in your tracks. It can seriously make you pause for a second and think about, but if you know how and why this statement is not true, then you will do just fine!
Why might people make this statement?
Jews, Muslims, and Christians all have the same relative origin. The Jews were God’s chosen people that he used to bring the News of Salvation into the world; Muslim people groups originated from Ishmael which was Abraham’s son born from his servant girl Hagar; Christians came about after the life of Jesus when they witnessed and heard first hand accounts about Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, then believed all he said during his life.
All of these religions came from the same area, Israel, and the same people group: the Jews; therefore, people say that they all worship the same God, so what’s the difference? Well… I’m glad you asked!
The simple difference.
When it comes to all religions or different denominations, the key question to ask is “What does this religion/denomination say about Jesus?”. What religions say about Jesus is important because most religions have different beliefs on who Jesus was and why he came to earth.
So many religions focus on “doing the right things” or being “good enough for god”, this is the distinguishing factor between different religions; it is what makes Christianity unique. Christianity is all about being saved by God’s grace through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, not merit, not good deeds, not fasting, and not giving. BUT! These good works are the evidence of how the grace of Jesus and the faith you have in him have changed your heart.
This distinguishing factor is also the same for Islam and Judaism. Both groups have incomplete views about Jesus. Muslims believe that Jesus was just a good prophet and was in no way divine, and Jews believe that Jesus was not the Messiah nor was he divine.
It is believed by both Jews and Muslims that a person receives salvation through good works and personal righteousness. Meaning, you must rely on your own holiness to get yourself into heaven. Muslims believe that your good must outweigh your bad for you to receive your salvation, but that is impossible. The day that you believe your good outweighs your bad, congratulations you have joined the rest of mankind and are lying to yourselves.
Question: Are they the same? Answer: ….
They are not the same.
TRUE Christianity is the only religion believes in not being “good enough” and not only that but what saves you is not your merit. It is the shedding of the blood of Christ. He was the ultimate sacrifice and it is this fact that distinguishes Christianity as the only TRUTH. It is this simple fact that shows they are different in extreme ways.
This simple truth is a simple, and easy, way to transition into sharing the Gospel.