Dear the People,
As Easter Sunday comes upon us, it seems worth discussing the significance of the Gospel story.
It’s common to find atheists turning their nose up at Christianity based on their worldview which denies God, but it is equally common to find an agnostic worldview which denies Christianity based on the fact that one can’t differentiate between Christianity and other religions. With Passion Week drawing ever closer to Good Friday, it seems important to go over the significant differences that make Christianity the only worldview that allows for morality and salvation.
While atheists may do their best to categorize Christians along with other religions, there is a difference that makes it stand out. The difference is the reason we have Easter Sunday at all. Jesus Christ marks a huge difference between Christianity and other religions. Mormonism, Catholicism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses do claim to have a belief in Jesus Christ, but there is a rather significant difference between the Jesus Christ of Christianity and the Jesus of other religions.
The Jesus of Christianity is not exclusive; he is accessible. He is not a harsh God who refuses salvation to the unrighteous because “all have fallen short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)”. Instead, salvation can be found for those who “repent, then, and turn back… (Acts 3:19)”. This view of salvation is different from those of other religions. In Catholicism, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witness (amongst other smaller religions), the way to salvation is not through repentance in God, but through good works. Jesus of the Gospels says in Matthew 5:20 that “For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.“. If absolute righteousness is required, no one could ever have salvation.
This is what is most significant about the message of the Gospels. Nothing is required to become a Christian except a humble heart. That humble heart is especially important to the life of a Christian. Jesus’ ministry taught the Gospel of God’s love, which includes “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also;“. This is in comparison to the violent religion of Islam which condones the death of non-Muslims. That’s not to say God has not condoned violence or does not condone violence under certain conditions, but the message of Jesus is to act with love in all circumstances, including conflicts.
Jesus demonstrated this ultimate love by giving His life for His people. Even at the time of His death, Jesus acted with love, giving repentance to a sinner and criminal dying with Him. Contrast this with the message of Mormonism/Jehovah’s Witness which merely claims that Jesus was a prophet akin to Joseph Smith or Islam which also claims that Jesus was a prophet akin to Muhammed. The problem with this contrast is that Jesus is not like Muhammed (a man who slaughtered thousands, committed sexual sin, and condoned similar violence) nor is He like Joseph Smith (a man who also promoted sexual sin as part of his doctrine and set up an ideology of paradoxes).
This Easter, it is worth looking into the truth of the Gospel story. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)”. The only man who knew the date of His death already died and He offered a way for you to know, with certainty, that you possess salvation.
I am not demanding a confession of faith, but I am urging a consideration of the gift Jesus has given. If the distance for you between eternal life and eternal death was a mere matter of educating oneself about the truth of the Gospel, would you choose to learn?
I would pray that the truth and reason of God finds you this Easter.