This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

These words thundered from the very mouth of God in Matthew 17:5 when Peter, James, and John beheld the illuminating brilliance of Jesus Christ in His glory, as He was transfigured before them high upon the Mount of Transfiguration.  Imagine how they must have felt as they beheld the Lord of glory communing with Moses and Elijah while they watched, engulfed in radiant white light.  Awestruck and unable to keep silence any longer, Peter exclaims in blissful delight how good it s for them to be there and then…..a big mistake.  He commits the critical error of equating Moses and Elijah with Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, when he suggests that they build three tabernacles–one to honor each of them—on that very spot.  Immediately, a cloud engulfed them all, God’s voice was heard confirming the preeminence of His Son, and then, when the smoke cleared, there remained Jesus only standing with them.

Oftentimes, it can be frustrating for us when we see Christianity casually and irreverently lumped into the same category as the false, man-made ‘religions’ of our day. Those who do so also commit a grave error, comparable to the one made by Peter all those years ago.   Personally, I dislike the word ‘religion’ (at least in the modern sense) as a descriptor for the Christian Faith, as nowadays that word carries connotations that tend to conjure up images in the mind of all sorts of ritualistic, superstitious rites and traditions (e.g. bowing toward a particular city in prayer at various mandated times of day, lying on a bed of nails or performing handstands for hours with one’s head buried in the sand, reciting ‘hail mary’s’, dousing oneself with and drinking cow urine in the streets of India, vain repetition of ‘formal’ prayers, ritualistic and robotic reciting of verses from a ‘holy book’, offering of prayers to dead saints, idolization of ‘holy’ relics, etc.) that go hand in hand with the worship of man-made gods.  Christianity, by contrast, is not based upon ‘religious’ form or mysterious rites of passage but, rather, it is a genuine relationship with Almighty God through Jesus Christ.  We are reconciled to God, not based upon our own works, but by placing our faith and trust in the finished work of His only begotten Son.  The Apostle Paul confirms this in the very familiar passages of Ephesians 2:8-9 when he declares:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Herein lies one of the primary distinguishing factors which separates the Christian Faith from man-made ‘religions’.  While it is useful to know some of the details and beliefs of false religions when witnessing to those who hold to them, we need not feel overly compelled to burden ourselves with learning the finer points of papal infallibility, trans substantiation, the five pillars of Islam, proxy baptism for the dead, etc. in order to engage a Catholic, Muslim, or Mormon in a discussion.  Instead, I have found it much easier to demonstrate the exclusive Truth of Christianity vs. other religions via a very simple (yet powerful) illustration:

Visualize two columns in your mind.  In one column, list every world religion you can think of (e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, etc.).  In the other column goes Christianity, all by itself.

Upon closer inspection, you will find that the man-made religions in the first column all have something in common;  at their core, they ALL advocate some form of ‘works righteousness’–the ability of man to somehow earn God’s favor or forgiveness through doing ‘good’ deeds or performing some other outward work.  Without exception, this is the mark of any false religion, as mankind’s prideful desire and need to merit their own salvation is the fly in the ointment which corrupts, and, subsequently, exposes corrupt human creeds vs. the genuine Truth of God.  Religions of men attempt to (and do) woo masses by appealing to man’s unregenerate and self-righteous human nature with a flattering message which proclaims, ‘you can earn your way to heaven through your own goodness’, while Christianity tells us something radically different.

The Bible teaches that there is NONE righteous or good in themselves (Rom. 3:10).  In fact,  we are told that our own self-righteous deeds are as filthy rags before the absolute, perfect holiness of Almighty God (Isaiah 64:6).  Christianity unapologetically declares to a sinful and rebellious world, ‘there is nothing you can do to save yourself, but God has mercifully paid the penalty for your sins in the blood of His precious Son’.  Upon Divine authority, it demands that we cease our vain and contemptible attempts at self-righteousness at once and surrender to the Saviour, in order to be reconciled to God and to be justified freely by Him on his terms, not ours

While the religions of the world are man’s prideful and futile attempt to attain unto righteousness on his own, Christianity is God’s demonstration of Divine love expressed through the act of Him humbly becoming a man and obtaining for us what we could never hope to obtain for ourselves.  He lived the life we could not live and then died the death that we should have died.  As such, he receives ALL the glory for our salvation, as He is, therefore, both the Author and Finisher of our Faith.  The difference between these two competing philosophies is as drastic as night and day and the consequences of which one we choose to follow are eternal.  As it was that fateful day with Peter, James, and John, so it is today—when the smoke of worldly deception clears, the Christ of Christianity stands alone as THE way, THE truth, THE life, and mankind’s only hope of salvation and righteousness before Almighty God.  Amen.

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Comments
  1. paul the slave says:

    Christianity kills self. It rebels, as it were against ego. This is one of the sore points with the world. Society has always run on pride and ego. When someone such as you or me come to an unbeliever and say that he cannot save himself and he is not good but disgustingly wicked, it smacks up against the proudful, egotistical heart and man rebels. It’s like telling a man he isn’t good enough to be a man…he will instantly puff his chest out and bellow like an ape.

    This is why the Holy Spirit must save and bring fallen man to the end of himself in order to kill that pride.

    Otherwise, it ends up just being another form of works-based salvation. Good post my friend. BTW…the link in the email took me to PAGE NOT FOUND, Have a blessed day.

    Like

    • scmike2 says:

      Thanks for the comment, Paul. Indeed, new life in Christ begins when we die to ourselves and are regenerated by His Spirit. Continue to pray for those who oppose themselves that they, too, may be freed from the deception that blinds their minds and holds them prisoner to their sin.

      Liked by 1 person

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