This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6
Many people today reject the exclusive claims of Christianity, which to them in an age of tolerance, seems narrow-minded. They say they do not want to be part of any religion that claims their way is the only way and is therefore superior to all the others. But is it really? The truth is that …
- Christianity is open to everyone
Christianity would be exclusive if any particular group of people was left out, but no one is, we are all welcome to come as we are, wherever we are. One of the most well known verses in the bible is, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. God loves everyone, all of humanity (the world); He does not discriminate.
- Christianity is a free gift of grace
Christians talk about grace being unmerited favour, which boils down to the reality that God relentlessly reaches out to us while we are still sinners. He powerfully pursues us with His love even while we reject Him. Salvation is available and accessible to all of us even though we don’t deserve it. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9
- Christianity is more than a religion
Many people misguidedly think that God is impressed by and even requires religious activity. The fact is that no religious ritual, activity or tradition we participate in is a substitute for a living faith in Jesus Christ. The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day taught that observing religious rituals would earn people a good standing before God. They went so far as developing a system of 613 laws (248 actions, 365 prohibitions), which they followed “religiously”. Jesus was not impressed by their outward show and reserved some of his harshest criticism for them. Paul states, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5.
Is it fair then to say that that the exclusive claims of Christianity are intolerant? It is worthwhile considering that although God’s gift of salvation is free to all of us; it came at the highest cost to God – the lonely, sacrificial death of His Son Jesus Christ. Even though His death opened up the way for all of us to come to know God, not all of us choose Him.
Prayer: Father, in a world where there are so many different religions and philosophies, we thank you that we can be certain that our faith in Jesus is not in vain, but leads to life itself.