What makes Christianity different than other faiths, belief systems and religions?
If we’re honest, everyone has a belief system and even atheism is a belief that there is no God. All religions try to explain God (or a higher power), the spiritual world, good versus evil, suffering and the future. Simply put, religion is human’s attempt to reach God or a spiritual nirvana.
Christianity is unique because it believes God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Instead of humans seeking God first, Christianity believes God sought a personal relationship with humans….first in the Garden of Eden after creation until Adam’s and Eve’s sin broke that relationship. God then sent Himself to earth in the person of Jesus Christ to once again have a personal relationship with humans by making a way for salvation and the forgiveness of sin.
The first four books of the New Testament are also referred to as the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and they each give an account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The gospels are often called “good news” because only Christianity offers a Savior who has sacrificed Himself for humans with no works, ritualistic prayers or sacrifices required on our part. The penalty of sin has been fully paid by Jesus’ death on the cross and this indeed, is good news! It is finished (John 19:30) and a personal relationship with God is available again to all who believe they need a Savior for their sins and accept Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior.
With so many different Christian denominations and various interpretations of scripture, sadly some have added rules and burdens not recorded in the gospels or New Testament. This is why it’s so important to read the Bible yourself and find a solid, Biblically based church to attend.
Core Christian doctrines found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible:
- The 66 books of the Bible, consisting of the books of the Old and New Testaments, are the inspired and authoritative Word of God. Psalm 119:160, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Proverbs 30:5
- There is one eternal God revealed in three distinct, coequal persons: Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:26, Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 40, Psalm 50:10-14,Ephesians 1:3-14
God created eternal people in His image with 3 distinct, coequal parts too: body (flesh/bones), soul (emotions/intellect) and spirit (life/spiritual). Genesis 1:26-27, Isaiah 43:7, 1Thessalonians 5:23
- All have sinned (missed the mark of perfection) and need a Savior. Romans 5:12-21, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1-8
- Salvation is a free gift that no one can earn by their own work, prayers or sacrifice. Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:15
- Jesus’ death and crucifixion bore the punishment of sin on the cross so that we can have a relationship with a Holy (perfect) God, an abundant life on earth and eternal life in heaven after our physical death. Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, Acts 2:23-35, John 3:16
- Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the tomb, conquering death. Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 16:6-7, Luke 24:6-7, John 11:25-27, Hebrews 13:20-21
- Jesus will return again for His church (Christians) to establish His Kingdom and conquer Satan and evil once and for all at the end of life on this earth. Matthew 6:9-10, Acts 1:9-11, 2 Peter 3:1-10, Revelation 19:11-16, Revelation 20:7-10
- God is creating a new, perfect heaven and earth for all Christians to enjoy for all of eternity. The current earth which has fallen into decay because of sin will be destroyed by fire. Revelation 21:1-5, Romans 8:19-22, Philippians 3:20-21, 2 Peter 3:1-10
- Unbelievers will be judged and spend eternity separated from God and believers will be rewarded with eternal fellowship with God in the new heaven and earth. Acts 1:9-11, Rev. 19-22, Phil. 3:20-21, 1 Thess. 4:14-17
Recommended books to learn more:
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God by Donna Jones
The Gospel According to Jesus by Dr. John MacArthur
Awake & Alive to Truth by John Cooper
Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin
Why God Allows Evil by Daniel Parks
Another Gospel by Alisa Childers
Grace to You with Dr. John MacArthur
Cooper Stuff with John Cooper
Fearless with Cissie Graham Lynch
Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey
Mama Bear Apologetics with Hillary Morgan Ferrer and Amy Davison