April 10th, 2009
Dr. Phil Fernandes
Pastor of Trinity Bible Fellowship
President of the Institute of Biblical Defense
Today, many people believe that all religions teach the same salvation message and acknowledge the same God. However, this is not the case. Even a cursory examination of the world’s major religions reveals the uniqueness of Christianity.
Christianity differs greatly from the two leading eastern religions: Hinduism and Buddhism. The God of Christianity is a personal God, a God that we can personally know and love, for He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, the Bible. But the god of Hinduism is an impersonal force, a god that cannot love and a god that cannot be known. Buddhists are often atheists or agnostics; many Buddhists either deny God’s existence or claim to have no knowledge of His existence.
Salvation in Hinduism and Buddhism is attained through human effort and reincarnation (the cycle of death and rebirth). The goal is the cessation of all desire when a person becomes one with the impersonal universe. On the other hand, Christianity claims that salvation comes only as a gift from God—it cannot be earned through human effort, and that salvation satisfies the greatest desires of the human heart. Clearly, in doctrines such as the nature of God and the way of salvation, there is very little common ground between Christianity and the eastern religions. The eastern religions have no concept of a God who loves us and seeks to save us.
When Christianity is compared to its two western counterparts, its uniqueness is still evident. Though Judaism and the Islamic faith proclaim the existence of one creator God who is a personal being, essential differences with Christianity remain. The God of Judaism and Islam can forgive the sins of men without demanding an ultimately worthy substitute sacrifice. But the justice of the Christian God demands that all sin be paid for in full. Christianity teaches that God the second Person of the Trinity became a man and died as the substitute sacrifice for the sins of mankind. In this way God remains just for He has punished all sin by punishing Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Still, God can justify and forgive sinners who accept Jesus as Savior, for Jesus paid the price for their sins (Romans 3:20-26). Therefore, the God of Christianity is more just than the God of Islam or Judaism. When the Christian God forgives sin, He does not ignore sin, for all sin has been paid for in full. Since Jesus is God-incarnate, He is the ultimately worthy sacrifice and able to atone for the sins of all mankind.
The God of Christianity is also more loving than the God of Islam or Judaism. For only the God of Christianity loved mankind so much that He sacrificed His only begotten Son in our place (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). And only the Christian God can feel our pain. Only He knows what it is like to suffer, to die, and to be rejected, for only the Christian God has become a man.
In short, the Christian God is superior to the gods of other religions. He is a personal God who loves us, a totally just God that must punish all sin, and an all-loving God that offers us the free gift of salvation that comes only through His Son. Christianity teaches a salvation that is so great that no man can earn it; it is a gift of God that man must humbly accept. Therefore, all religions do not teach the same thing. Christianity is unique, for it teaches a superior God and a superior way of salvation.