Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism… there are so many options. Which one shall I choose?
In college I took a comparative religions course from a self-professing atheist. I really appreciated his style and the class he taught. He was exceedingly objective - probably because he had no attachments to any of them. After poring over texts and pondering class discussions, I began to get a sense for something that I knew to be true, but just didn’t realize its magnitude. There is one characteristic of Christianity that sets itself apart from any other religion or worldview: grace.
Every other religion and worldview, once you boil away the jargon and idiosyncrasies, operates under the mantra of: “I obey therefore, I’m accepted.” Whether its karma, the eightfold path, the four noble truths, the five pillars, etc., all of them basically exhort the religious adherent to perform. And if the performance is good enough, “life as it should be” will be reached.
As I began to realize this is the fundamental operation of them all, I grew fatigued under the weight of a single question: “How do I know I’ve performed well enough?” None of them seem to provide a satisfactory answer.
Of course, the problem is, many people think this is what Christianity is as well. “Obey the Ten Commandments and you’ll be saved.” But the Bible doesn’t teach that. In fact, the Bible insists on our inability to perform well enough. We all fall short (Rom. 3:23). This is where Jesus’ entrance onto the human stage is such a relief!
Jesus came to live the perfect life I could never live.
Jesus came to die in my place the death my imperfect life deserved.
By faith, I am “awarded” his accomplishments.
You know what you call receiving an exceptionally good thing based on someone else's merits? GRACE!