Religion is the practice of faith; that is, religion is the external or ceremonial observance of a set of beliefs. Technically, there is a difference between faith (the internal attitude) and religion (the external works), but for the sake of this article, we will define “Christian religion” broadly as “the faithful observance of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.”
James 1:27 says that religion that is “pure and faultless” before God is “to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In other words, care for the needy and personal virtue are externals which are present when one has a true love for God. And, since James specifies that he is speaking of “pure and faultless” religion, there must exist an “unclean and imperfect” type of religion as well—a religion not based on love for God.
Here are five reasons why the Christian religion is better than non-Christian religions (why observing the teachings of Jesus Christ is better than not observing them):
Christian religion – Jesus Christ is the Way to God.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because that which leads to God is better than that which leads away from God. We have sinfully wandered away from God (Isaiah 53:6), and we need a Guide to lead us back. Jesus is that Way (John 14:6), the One to seek the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus claims not to be one of many ways, but the one-and-only Way to God. He is, in fact, God Himself in human flesh (John 20:28), so to find Jesus is to find God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” He said (John 14:9). The Christian religion is unique in that it offers a close, intimate relationship with the personal God of the universe.
Christian religion – Jesus Christ is the Truth.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because things that are true are better than things that are false. Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He is the embodiment of truth, the revelation of God to humanity (Colossians 2:9), and the conveyor of God’s words (John 17:8). The Christian religion is grounded in truth, being based on a historical Person whose acts were verified by eyewitnesses and recorded by four different biographers. Parodies of Christianity often spring up through the work of “false prophets” (1 John 4:1), but only Jesus is true. In following Christ, Christians have the utmost regard for truth, as opposed to hollow externals and the hypocrisy of false appearances. The Christian religion is unique in that it forces us to face the truth about ourselves and speak the truth with others.
Christian religion – Jesus Christ is the Life.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because life is better than death and heaven is better than hell. Jesus is “the Life” (John 14:6); He is the source of life, and without Him one cannot truly live (John 1:4; 3:36; 5:24; 10:10). Jesus provides what we need: the Bread that satisfies forever (John 6:35), the Water that gives eternal life (John 4:14; 7:37-38), and the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). These are more than empty claims; Jesus proved His ability to give life by raising from the dead Lazarus (John 11), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5), and the boy from Nain (Luke 7). Then, after His own death on the cross, Jesus rose again the third day, having conquered death forever (Matthew 28). The Christian religion is unique in that it is based on the actual, physical resurrection of its Founder.
Christian religion – Jesus Christ transforms mankind.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because righteousness is better than wickedness. Other religions may impose conformity to a certain code of behavior, but they have no power to change the heart. Christianity teaches that the believer is “dead to sin” and now lives “in newness of life” (Romans 6:2, 4). The authenticating mark of a Christian is his transformation from practicing sin to having a zeal for good works (Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian’s zeal for doing good has resulted in the founding of countless orphanages, hospitals, clinics, schools, homeless shelters, and emergency relief agencies—all in the name of Christ. The Christian religion is unique in that it does not force change from without but revolutionizes lives from within.
Christian religion – Jesus Christ is loving.
The Christian religion is better than other religions because love is better than the absence of love. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is the greatest of His gifts to us (1 Corinthians 13:13)—not the fickle, so-called love of the world, but the selfless, unconditional love which always seeks to benefit the one loved. God showed His love for us in sending His one-and-only Son (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). Jesus showed His love for us in providing for our salvation by dying on the cross (John 15:13). Jesus gave His followers a new command: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Love, not duty or debt, is what motivates the believer and impels him to greater humility and greater service for the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is unique in that it is not a system of rules but a celebration of unselfish love. “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
Man, in his creativity, has invented innumerable religions in his attempt to reach God. God, in His love, has given us the truth: the one religion, Christianity, in which God attempts to reach man.
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