By Steve Greene
Jesus taught the opposite of what other religions teach.
He said we are all guilty of sin and wrongdoing, and that is consistent with our own personal experience, isn’t it? We all know we are sinners. No thinking person would claim perfection.
Jesus went on to say our wrongdoing separates us from a holy and perfect God. That makes sense. We get it. Apart from him, Jesus said nobody can do anything to merit heaven.
I am sure there have been times when all of us felt distant or disconnected from God. Because God is a righteous judge, our wrongdoing had to be reconciled. So out of his love for us, Jesus voluntarily offered himself as the sacrifice for our sin.
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 6:23 (NLT2)
Jesus died in our place. He offered to pay the penalty that we owed for our sin. And when we receive the sacrifice he made on our behalf, we can be reunited with God for all eternity.
The religions of the world are spelled “D-O” because they teach that people have to perform certain rituals and do certain things to try to please God. But Christianity is spelled “D-O-N-E” because Jesus Christ has already done all that needed to be done for us when he died on the cross, and it is up to us to receive the gift he has made available to all of us.
John 1:12 says, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” This distinction is seen clearly when we compare a parable taught by Jesus with a similar story found in Buddhist literature.
Both stories involve sons who became rebellious and left home but who then saw the error of their ways and decided to come back home to be reconciled with their families.
In the Buddhist story, the wayward son is required to work off of the penalty for his past misdeeds by spending years in servitude. But in the Christian parable of the prodigal son found in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 15, the story ends with the repentant son being warmly welcomed home by his loving father.
The son experienced the undeserved grace and forgiveness of his father. That is just one of the many fundamental differences between Christianity and other religions of the world.