What makes Christianity stand apart from all other major world religions? Today, Harry Reeder describes how Christ’s atonement for our sins lies at the heart of this matter.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I’m joined today by Dr. Harry Reeder, senior minister at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Reeder, what makes Christianity unique?
DR. HARRY REEDER: It would be easy for me to answer this question just by saying Christianity is unique because it’s true. All the other religions are false or have aspects of truth which they falsely package. But Christianity is unique because it is true. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. But let me be even more precise. The question specifically, what makes it different or unique from all the other religions in the world? Well, here’s just one basic undergirding principle. The religions of this world tell you what you must do or give in order to be saved in however that religion defines salvation. It tells you what you must do, tells you what you must give, or what you do and give in order to be saved, and in the manner that they define salvation. Christianity is absolutely unique. Christianity says to us, it’s not what you do and give.
In fact, what we do and give is not the solution. What we do and give creates the problem because we’re sinners. Even our righteousness is like filthy rags. We are polluted with sin because of our sin nature. We’re born sinners, therefore we actually sin. Therefore we can’t provide an atonement for our sins. We can’t deliver ourselves from our sins. Now, that’s actually what creates a scandal to the world. Unless the Holy Spirit gives someone eyes to see and ears to hear when you come with the good news, we’re helpless. We’re hopeless. We’re unable. We are unwilling to come to Christ. But God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Here is great news. We are sinners, we need a savior, and we cannot save ourselves, and our religion can’t save us.
Now, actually, unless the Holy Spirit gives you eyes to see and ears to hear what that good news becomes a scandal, and so the world rejects it. They would rather put a false hope in what they do in man-made religion or what they do in their sincerity or by their rituals. That’s the uniqueness of Christ. It’s salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. People say, “Well, then you don’t believe in salvation by works.” I say, “Oh yes, I do. But it’s not my work. It’s what Christ has done. It is the work of Christ for me and the work of the Holy Spirit in me, and it comes by God’s love through His grace—His undeserved, unmerited, unstoppable love.” That is what is unique. Christianity says, we need a Savior, we can’t save ourselves, and God saves all of His people. And if you’re in Christ, there is no condemnation. If you are in Christ, all charges have been removed. If you’re in Christ, nothing can separate you from the love of God and Christ.
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