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Mere Christianity?

Dr. James White often refers to what he calls the “mere Christianity” movement where people try to make Christianity as small as you can make it.  In the 2000 years of the Church, orthodoxy has been the standard for what is deemed as Christian.  I grant you that at times this has not always been clear and sometimes people made non-essentials as essentials of the gospel.  In our day, mere Christianity has come to simply believe that if you affirm Jesus, you are a Christian.

I have been following a blogger for some time who I have seen him drifting this way.  His view is that Jesus is what matters yet it seems to me that he does not care what people believe about Jesus so long as they say they love Jesus and desire to follow Him.  While this blogger seems to affirm that the Bible is the Word of God (though I’m not sure if he holds to inerrancy or infallibility), he often muddles the water by using the liberal “red letter Christian” mantras.  It is as if this blogger makes Jesus someone that we should merely copy (and by that I mean be a hippie and be focused on “peace and love man”).  This blogger even has been writing about how he has seen Jesus in a Muslim friend of his and how this Muslim has taught him more about Jesus than many Christians.

This is the mere Christianity movement.  There is no focus on the doctrine of Christ nor about His atonement.  There is little emphasis placed on His perfection for our salvation.  There is nothing said about His death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He lives to make intercession for the saints.  There is nothing said about His coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  In fact, mere Christianity makes Jesus just someone that we should copy and imitate to have a better life.  Jesus becomes nothing more than a “great teacher” along with other “great teachers.”  Jesus’ own declarations are ignored.

I don’t assume that someone is a Christian simply because they name the name of Jesus.  Jesus Himself said that many would come in His name (Matthew 24:4-5).  John the Beloved wrote that many antichrists had come (1 John 2:18).  Antichrists are false christs.  Paul the Apostle issued curses on those who preach a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  Thus we can see that there are false christs and false gospels.

Not everyone who says Jesus is truly His (Matthew 7:21-23).  Jesus said that those who are His are those who hear His words and put them into practice, who build their lives on His teachings (Matthew 7:24-27).  A disciple of Jesus is one who abides in His teachings (John 8:31-32).  This means that the disciple not only reads the Word of God (and not merely the “red letters”) but they study it as well.  I study God’s Word to know God, to love Him more and to obey Him better all by His Spirit and His grace.

So many claim Christ but they don’t even know the first thing about Him.  They don’t know His Word.  They don’t read His Word.  They don’t study His Word.  They don’t care to study His Word nor do they truly care to know Him because Jesus doesn’t fit our views when we read and study Him.  The perfect Son of God is not like us in that He is absolutely perfect, holy, blameless, and His ways are beyond our ways.  We seek to imitate Him (1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 2:6) but we recognize that He alone is perfect.  He is perfect for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Because He remains forever perfect, He now stands before the Father in our defense (Hebrews 7:22-25).  As we abide in Jesus through faith (Romans 5:1; 1 John 2:24-25), we find that He is faithful to wash our sins away (1 John 1:7, 9).

The mere Christianity movement wants to place Jesus among others.  Jesus is far above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).  Every knee will bow to His glory alone (Philippians 2:5-11).  This includes all false teachers, all false prophets, all false religions.  Jesus is not equal among others.  Jesus is God (John 1:1, 18; Romans 9:5) and He is to be worshiped as God.

The mere Christianity movement has to dethrone Jesus to make Him equal among others.  For example, the Muslim view of Jesus is not at all equal with the biblical view.  The Quran teaches that Jesus is not God, that He is not even the Son of God.  Yes Islam says that Jesus is the Messiah but they deny His divinity and the Quran condemns to hell those who would say that God is a man or has a son.  The Quran falsely believes that the doctrine of the Trinity includes Mary.  The Quran denies that Jesus died for our sins.  Most Muslims believe that Jesus didn’t even die on the cross but rather Allah made someone else to appear as Jesus on the cross such as Judas.  While Islam teaches that Jesus will return, they believe that He will return and set up an Islamic kingdom on the earth.  The Islamic confession of faith is focused on Mohammad and not on Jesus.

And yet mere Christianity says that since a Muslim claims to love Jesus (the Jesus of the Quran and not the Jesus of the Bible), then they are “saved.”  If a Muslim denies the Quran’s teaching on Jesus and embraces the biblical view of Jesus then I would submit that they are not a Muslim but a Christian.  Of course, true salvation requires faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-20; 17:30-31).

One final point.  The mere Christianity movement especially detests evangelism.  After all, the evangelist is preaching that Jesus alone saves (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  The evangelist preaches that faith and repentance are necessary for eternal life (Luke 13:5; John 5:24-25; 6:29; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:13).  This goes against the mere Christian view that all religions are essentially good so long as they love Jesus.  It also goes against the postmodern mindset that there is no absolute truth since Jesus Himself claims to be the truth of God (John 14:6).  When religious people are confronted with their sins and with the truth of Jesus, they always strike back with a vengeance.  I have witnessed this myself. People don’t mind if you preach a peace and love Jesus but the moment you preach that a person must repent, they quickly turn on you.  People love Jesus but the Jesus they create in their own images but not the biblical Jesus.

I am often confronted by the biblical Jesus as I read.  I am confronted with my sins.  I am confronted with my lack of being like Jesus in all I do.  I am confronted with how wonderful Jesus truly is and the more that I study Him and the more that I seek Him, the more I find that I am not like Him, that He is God and worthy to be praised, and I will never truly grasp Him in this life.  Jesus is simply too wonderful, too mighty, too holy for me to perfectly understand but what I do know is this: He died for my sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) and He is coming again in glory (2 Timothy 4:1).  I long to see Him and worship Him forever.  I will continue to preach the biblical Jesus and preach against the false christs of this world.

Short Thoughts on the Islamic View of the Bible

I was listening to Dr. James White teaching on Islam and their view of the Bible and his talk got me thinking about the nature of the Islamic view of the Bible and how that plays into their view of Allah’s determinism of all things.  The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is so sovereign that everything that happens whether good or bad happens because Allah wills it so and Allah renders all things certain.  Some have tried to place the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty on the same level as the Muslim view but there are major differences between the two and I will not go there.  Just a cursory reading of the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty reveals that despite their holding to divine determinism, there is a large element of God’s goodness and His love toward His creation including the reprobate (Romans 9:22).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is not entirely loving and good.  His nature is not loving.  While Muslims believe that Allah is merciful and compassionate, they hold that Allah is to be known not in a loving sense but in submission (thus Muslims are those who submit to Allah).  The nature of God in Christianity is that God is love (1 John 4:7-8).  God is both holy and loving.  God hates our sins and He will judge our sins but He has also sent His Son to bear our sins on the cross (John 3:16).  This is the hope of the gospel, that Jesus has bore our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:7) and we will be raised to eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).  No doubt sin separates us from our holy God and Creator (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 2:1-3) but God has sent His Son for our sins because of His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4-9).

The Muslim view of Allah is that Allah is completely other from his creation.  Allah often remains angry with humanity because we fail to obey his laws as he gave to Mohammad in the Quran and mostly in the Hadith.  Allah will judge all of humanity and will judge the Christians harshly for their worship of Jesus Christ (Surah 19:88-98).  Muslims fear the day of judgment .  They fear that Allah will not be merciful toward them even if they have kept his laws and sought to obey the pillars of Islam.  Some Muslims even believe that no person is safe on the day of judgment for Allah may choose to ignore the works of the Muslim and simply choose to send them to hell because of his own sovereign choice.

Now back to my original thought.  Islam holds that Allah not only controls all things but he renders certain all things.  Nothing happens that Allah has not willed so.  Allah is the supreme cause of all things.  The view of God in Islam amounts to fatalism.

Yet Muslims hold that Allah gave the Old Testament (the Torah) to the Jews.  Allah gave the New Testament to the Christians (the Gospels).  Yet they hold that the Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures given to them by Allah.  Therefore, Allah in his mercy sent Mohammad 600 years after the New Testament to correct true religion and to bring people back to submission to Allah.  The Quran is seen to be given by Gabriel to Mohammad as the final revelation from Allah (notice that it had to come through the angel because Allah does not deal with mankind).  Muslims then reason backwards that the newer revelation is superior to the older revelation.

Muslims hold that the Bible has been corrupted though they can’t truly point out the corruptions.  They often point to variants in the Greek text such as Mark 16:9-20 or John 8:1-10.  However, Christian scholars acknowledge these variants.  We also acknowledge the textual differences among the Greek family of manuscripts.  By the way, Muslim scholars know that there are variants in the Quran texts as well.  Bear in mind that the Quran was written years after Mohammad had even died.  The key differences here is that the Bible has thousands of manuscripts for it.  The New Testament alone has thousands of Greek texts.  Muslim scholars also now that the variants do not effect any major doctrines in Christianity.

Yet all of this, the variants, the so called corruptions in the Bible, etc. all happened because Allah willed it.  Yet Allah states in the Quran that he will guide and protect his word.  How can this be if Allah allowed the Old and New Testaments to be corrupted?  How can Allah be trusted if he allows this?  And if Allah allows the Bible to be corrupted, how can the Muslim argue that Allah has protected the Quran from error?

On my desk here as I write is a copy of the Quran along with my New American Standard Bible.  The two are not even close when you read them.  As Dr. White pointed out in his talk, just take the book of Acts and read it and notice how Luke emphasizes places, historical people, emperors, etc. while the Quran does little to none of this.  One cannot read say Surah 2 and know for sure when this is or what is happening.  The Quran is not even fun reading.  Meanwhile, the Bible is full of history, poetry, prophecy, etc. that places the Bible and its events in human history with humans interacting with God as the will of God is accomplished mainly the salvation of mankind through the cross (John 1:29).  The Bible has been given to us to reveal God’s final and ultimate revelation of Himself in His Son for His glory and for our salvation (Hebrews 1:1-3).  John 20:31 records that these were written so that we might believe in Jesus and be saved.

The Quran, on the other hand, is not that way at all.  The beauty is not there.  The historical interactions are not there and what few are there are borrowed from the Bible in some form.  Even what is known about Jesus has to come from the Bible (such as His virgin birth which the Quran has to borrow from).  The Quran has to borrow from the Christian worldview (mainly the Scriptures themselves) to establish itself.  The Book of Mormon is similar in this vein where Smith has to borrow from the Bible and then attack the Bible to establish his book above the Bible.

The bottom line is that if Allah is all-powerful and he causes all things then he caused the corruption of the Bible yet he said in the Quran that he gave the Bible and protects his words.  Which is it?  Did Allah protect the Bible or did he fail?  Obviously, if the Bible is true then we have no need for the Quran and Mohammad is a false prophet and false teacher.  This is my view.

Why the Secular World Has No Answer For ISIS

I recently watched a video on the Islamic State or better known as ISIS.  The video was not produced by Christians so the video simply wanted to tell the story of ISIS and why they do what they do and what is their goal.  The reality was that ISIS members were not murderers bent on simply killing infidels in the name of Islam but they are simple, normal Muslims who truly love Islam and are seeking to follow the ways of their Prophet.  These Muslims fill their day with learning from the Quran, with prayer, and with seeking to imitate the life of Mohammad in every way possible including jihad.  Their passion is simple: they want to do the will of their god as it gave it to their prophet.

The secular world simply cannot fathom this devotion.  They look at ISIS and see a people who must be mad at the West for something.  Perhaps its our morals (and that is part of it) or our freedom (they see it as bondage because the will of their god is not being followed).  The secular world thinks it’s about land or oil or money or even sex.  The reality is that the members of ISIS and especially the leadership are well-educated Muslims who are bent on being true to the Quran and to their prophet.  This is not about a fight for land.  This is not a fight over the US involvement with Iraq or Afghanistan per se (though ISIS hates the Americans for being in Muslim lands).  This is not about Jews or Christians (though they despise them both for their “false worship”).  This is about their god.  And the secular world has no answer.

The reason is simple why the secular worldview has no answer: they have no god.  The “god” of the secular is themselves (Romans 1:22-23).  The false god of Islam is not much different other than that the Muslim believes in a god outside of themselves.  Their god is still a false god.  Either way, the secularist has no answer for Islam.

The Christian reply is that the Muslims are worshiping a false god.  A comparison of the God of the Bible with the god of the Quran shows a god who is much different in Islam.  Even a comparison of the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ with Mohammad shows worlds difference between the two.  The Lord Jesus was perfect, sinless and He never struck down those who attacked Him (1 Peter 2:21-24).  Jesus even prayed for those who were killing Him (Luke 23:34).  The Bible even says that we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and Paul the Apostle advocated the same (Romans 12:12-21).  Jesus did teach His disciples to advance His kingdom (Acts 1:8) because of His authority (Matthew 28:18-20) but this advancement is not with weapons of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:3-4) but with the gospel.  The gospel will conquer the nations (Psalm 110:1; Daniel 7:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26) and the Lord will redeem sinners from every nation (Revelation 5:9-10).  Yet Jesus, unlike Mohammad, never called His followers to advance His kingdom by force or power.  The gospel alone can transform a person and this comes from above (John 3:3; cf. Luke 17:20-21).

ISIS is not following Jesus.  In fact, ISIS hates Jesus and the true and living God of the Bible as all sinners do (Romans 1:18-19).  ISIS, like other forms of Islam, cannot convert one person because they have no gospel, no power.  Islam offers no forgiveness of sins because they reject sin.  Islam offers no assurance of salvation but to martyrs.  Islam offers no hope that their god loves them but only that it is merciful.  Islam has no concept of individual salvation but with only submission to their god.  The very name “Muslim” means “one who submits.”  Yet ISIS views all forms of Islam false who also do not follow sharia law (or the laws put forth by various Muslim clerics about how to follow the Quran and the life of Mohammad).  If a nation or person does not follow sharia law as set forth by ISIS, they are deemed infidels and must repent and come back to the true religion.  This is not a religion of peace but one of submission.

ISIS’s goal is clear: to raise the black flag of ISIS over every nation.  In the video I watched, ISIS promised to raise the flag over Turkey (if they did not open a dam to allow water into Syria) and over all the Middle East (including Iran and Israel whom they both hate).  ISIS even promised to raise the flag of Islam over the White House in the United States.  This is not a religion of peace but as the name states – of submission.  Sharia law is to be the law of the land wherever ISIS comes.

What can the secularist say to this?  They have no solution.  No answers.  The President of the United States will not even see that they are true Muslims but he views them as false Muslims.  Any simple reading of the Quran and the Hadith would show otherwise.  Some secular religious scholar is giving the President of the United States bad advice.  I agree that warfare is not the total answer.  ISIS wants war.  ISIS would love to face the United States to the battlefield (though they would probably lose in my estimation).  ISIS believes that their holy war is from their god.  The US military would just view it as another war with terrorists.  While the US could defeat ISIS in battles, the hearts for the people living in Muslim lands must be won with the gospel.  And the US (and other nations) would not get that part.  Until they do, they would have to continue to fight Islamic fighters for years to come.

The answer for combatting ISIS is this: send missionaries.  You could (and I think should) fight ISIS on the battlefield for they continue to kill people who are simply in their way.  ISIS must be stopped and stopped by a strong military force (just as the European nations sent the Crusaders in the middle ages not to take over the Middle East but to combat the spread of Islam into European nations).  After stopping ISIS on the battlefield, we must turn the work over to the gospel.  Muslims need to freely hear the gospel.  One ISIS soldier even said that he hated seeing the Americans in Iraq because they would build Christian churches.  This is what we must do.  We must send forth the gospel.

The gospel can transform the Middle East.  It did in the first 600 years after the resurrection of Christ until the false prophet Mohammad sought to build a cult off the teachings of Judaism and Christianity.  Since then, the gospel has struggled against the false teachings of Islam.  Islam is not merely another religion from Christianity but it is the antithesis of Christianity.  Islam doesn’t merely teach against Jesus but another Jesus altogether to pervert the true Jesus of the Bible.

Thank God for the reports of Muslims hearing the gospel through the Internet and through radio.  ISIS will kill whoever converts to Christianity and ISIS will kill whoever is found with a Bible or listening to Christian programs.  This is not about peace but submission.  Yahweh is sending forth His truth against the false teachings of Islam.  Yahweh will be glorified through His Son in all nations and the promise is that all nations will bow to His dominion (Psalm 72:8-9).

I pray that ISIS will repent.  God saved a Jew bent on killing disciples of Christ in Acts 9 and He can do the same with members of ISIS.  I pray that nations will see the threat of ISIS and see that the answer is not found in secularism.  It is not found in money or sex.  The answer for ISIS is the gospel of the Jesus Christ.  I pray that members of ISIS will turn from their sins and the Spirit of God would bring deep conviction upon them (John 16:8-11).  Jesus is able to save even the worse of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  May we intercede for this (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

Intercession for ISIS

ISIS is a wicked group of men who are committed to the false teachings of Islam and the false prophet Mohammad.  ISIS are committed to following the example of their Prophet and they want to imitate him in every way.  These are not “sub-Muslims” but I would argue that they are true Muslims, truly committed to following Islam and living for the glory of their false Prophet.

That said, the disciple of Jesus has a powerful tool to use to combat the lies of ISIS and that is prayer.  The Muslim prays to the false god Allah but it does not hear for Allah is not a true god.  The members of ISIS pray to a false god and worship a false god.  This is not true for true disciples of Jesus Christ.  We have the one and only true and living God.  There are no other gods (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:8; 45:5; 46:9; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Ephesians 4:6).  Jesus is the divine Son of God, the second person of the holy Trinity (John 1:18; 3:16) and He alone is our sole mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  We must come to the Father in the name of Jesus for Him to hear our prayers (John 14:13-14).  Jesus warned about those who would try to come to God through other ways or means.  He called them “thief and a robber” (John 10:1).  Jesus alone is the true shepherd for us (John 10:11) and He said that He was the door for the sheep (John 10:7).  Jesus said further that He was the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).

Therefore, the disciple of Christ can come into the holy presence of God whereas the members of ISIS cannot.  The members of ISIS continue to sacrifice their lives and their time to false gods and even demons (1 Corinthians 10:20, 21).  ISIS members are slaves to their sin and to their father, Satan (John 8:44).  It is clear that they are far from God by their actions (1 John 3:15).

With the knowledge then that we can pray and God hears our cries (Psalm 65:2) because of Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16), let us pray!  Let us pray for the members of ISIS to be saved.  Perhaps some of them fit Romans 10:1 but I suspect most are simply lustful men who desire to kill and to destroy like their father, Satan, and their Prophet.  Again, they pray and worship false gods but we worship the only true and living God and He hears the prayer of the saints (Revelation 5:8).  We should pray that God would open their blind eyes to know the truth of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).  We should pray for the Holy Spirit to bring deep conviction on the members of ISIS (John 16:8-11).  We should pray for the Lord to bring justice for their killings (Romans 2:8-9).  We should pray 2 Peter 3:9 toward ISIS and ask God to open their eyes to see their sins and to see their good works (and very evil works) do not save but only condemn them (Isaiah 64:6).  We should pray for disciples who are suffering under ISIS to demonstrate Christ (Luke 23:34) and for the Lord to be glorified even in their suffering (1 Peter 4:12-19).

ISIS can be destroyed but God is able to save these wicked sinners.  The Lord struck down Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-4).  Saul was a wicked man who was bent on destroying the church of Christ (Acts 8:1-3; Galatians 1:13).  Saul was doing all this in the name of Yahweh whom he thought he was serving (Galatians 1:14) yet he did not know God in truth (Galatians 1:15) but when the Lord saved him, Saul became a testimony of grace for all to see (Galatians 1:16, 24).  Who would think that God could take the murdering Saul and turn him into Paul the Apostle?  Yet God did (1 Corinthians 15:10)!

We should pray that the Father would do the same to members of ISIS.  God is more than able!  He has proved His power to save throughout time.  May the Lord be glorified in saving souls among ISIS.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/19/2015 at 12:46 PM

The Ideological Struggle with Islam

What President Obama and the media in the West does not understand that is that battle with Islam is not over human rights.  It is not over land for peace.  It is not over the desire to live in peace and under a republic.  The struggle of Islam is that the fundamental desire is to control the world by force.  This is both taught in the Quran as well in the Hadith.  The Muslim prophet Mohammad set this example by his own life.

For the Christian, we know that the struggle over Islam is a spiritual battle.  In reality, the hope for the Middle East does not depend on the United States, the United Nations, or Israel.  The hope for the Middle East is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel is the only true solution to the war with Islam.  Nations will try to fight the Muslims with weapons of warfare but in reality, the heart of the Muslim must be turned away from their false worship to the true and living God.

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tells us how to fight this war:

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

This battle with Islam will be fought and won when the Church preaches the gospel to the lost Muslims.  I praise God that He is indeed saving Muslims all across the 10/40 window.  Yet this should be the Church’s call to prayer, to call out to God for Him to save Muslims and this alone will bring true peace to our wicked world.  I call to Christians to pray for ISIS to repent before the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  Despite what we might think of the lost Muslims who are committing wicked deeds in the name of their god, we should remember Ezekiel 18:32.  We should remember 2 Peter 3:9.  We should remember that Jesus shed His blood on the cross not just for us but also for the lost Muslims (Revelation 5:9-10).

I urge you to pray Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 6:10 over the 10/40 window.  Pray for the Lord to pour out His Spirit and bring salvation to the nations.  1 Corinthians 15:25 promises us that all His enemies will be placed under His feet at the end.  I pray that the Lord’s enemies will repent and turn to Him in true faith.  So many Muslims want to practice their religion in peace but dear friends, they still are lost and on their way to hell.  They still need to know the truth of salvation (Romans 10:14-17).  Let us pray that their eyes will be open to the grace of God that brings salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Let us pray that the God of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21) will reconcile lost Muslims unto Himself.

Friends, the hope for the Middle East is not found in war.  It is found in the gospel of Christ being preached.  This alone will turn the Middle East away from their false religion toward the truth of God.  This gospel will end the violence, will end the corruption, will end the torture, and will end the backwards thinking of so many in the Middle East.  This gospel will bring true peace (Ephesians 2:15).

The Resurrection Is The Key

Islam claims that the faithful Muslim is to not only study the Quran and the Hadith’s but they are to seek to copy the example of their prophet, Mohammed.  The difficulty, of course, is that Mohammed lived in the 7th century.  Yet faithful Muslims claim that we are still to copy his example and seek to be just like him in all that we do.

In Buddhism, the teachings of the Buddha are studied and the believer seeks to apply them to their lives.  Again, the example of the Buddha is to serve as an example and he is the truly enlightened one that we are seeking to be like.

In Hinduism, the vast amount of gods means that we are to be devoted to our god.  We are to fulfill our duty to our god.  It is our work that we must do.

A pattern exists when you study world religions and cults and that is works for salvation (if they believe in some sort of salvation) or we must copy the examples of the religious teachers.  We are to copy the examples of these prophets, teachers, leaders, apostles, etc.

This is not so with Christianity.  No doubt the Lord Jesus left us an example that we should follow (1 Peter 2:21-24) but His example is one that we realize we can never obtain in that Jesus was absolutely perfect and sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Even the Quran states that Jesus (though in Islam, He is just a prophet) was sinless.  But the more I study Jesus and His life, I realize that I can never obtain His perfection.  I am imperfect.  I am sinful by nature.  Jesus, on the other hand, left us a perfect example and one that we can seek to copy (1 John 2:6).

But the key to Christianity is not the teachings of Jesus.  It is not the example of Jesus.  It is the resurrection of Jesus that is the key.  Paul the Apostle makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 15.  The key to our saving faith is in the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 10:9-10).  It was the resurrection that caused the Apostles of Christ to go forth with His gospel (Matthew 28:16-20).  It is the resurrection of Christ that transforms the sinner into a saint of God (1 Peter 1:18-21).

While I agree with C.S. Lewis that grace is a fundamental difference between world religions and Christianity, grace is based on the resurrection.  Without the resurrection of Christ, there could be no grace (Romans 4:24-25).  Grace flows to us because Jesus is alive and because He sits at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:25).

My prayer is that the Church would go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) preaching the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  To this day, faithful Muslims visit the tomb of Mohammad in the city of Medina.  Christians have no tomb of Christ to visit where His body lays.  We have an empty tomb because Jesus is risen from the dead.  He reigns now forevermore (Psalm 110:1).  Jesus empowers us now by His resurrection power to go forth and make disciples.  This is what will change our world.  This precious gospel, that Jesus shed His blood for our sins (Galatians 1:4), is what we will change our world (2 Corinthians 5:17).  I rejoice that Jesus is risen and I will see Him face to face (1 John 3:1-3).

It is only by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).  May we settle that issue now and realize that nothing I can do can earn God’s salvation nor His favor.  My works are tainted by sin (Isaiah 64:6).  Yet Christ bore my sins on the cross and His blood washes away all my sins so that I now have peace with God through His finished work on the cross (Romans 5:1).  I am a child of God not by my works but because of His grace toward me in His holy Son (Titus 3:5-7).

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