By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Jesus is different than any other religious leader because He offers a unique solution to man’s deepest dilemma.
Not all religions are wrong about everything. In all religions, there is a kernel of truth. For example, almost all religions say that man is flawed. Most religions say that our problem is selfishness, and because of selfishness we are missing out on what God or another deity has planned for us. But other religions say the solution to man’s dilemma begins with man. Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism say that meditation is the answer to selfishness. If you meditate, then you can rid yourself of selfishness. Judaism and Islam say you need to keep a list of rules to satisfy God and earn your forgiveness. Now, Judaism and Islam have different gods and different regulations, but they both say we get right with whoever God is by keeping the law.
But Christianity is altogether different. Christianity says our dilemma is much more serious than selfishness. Our problem is sin, and the Bible says we are all guilty of it. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And not only that, Romans 6:23 says that the wages, what we deserve for our sin, is eternal death and separation from God. Some people say, “I have messed up here and there, but maybe I can earn God’s forgiveness.” Here is the problem with that: God does not allow selective obedience to His laws. In Galatians 3:10, Paul said to those who were trying to justify themselves by keeping God’s laws, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”
God grades our lives on the pass-fail system. That is the good news. Here is the bad news: the minimum requirement to pass and go to Heaven is 100 percent obedience to God’s laws. James said it this way: “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). One little mistake, and you fail. You have to be perfect. You say, “That is impossible for anyone to do!” Exactly. That is God’s whole point. None of us is good enough to earn God’s forgiveness, and that is why God instituted a rescue plan to save us from the punishment we all deserve for our sins. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, and yet die on a cross and suffer the separation from God that you and I deserve. And here is the great thing that happens: When you trust in Jesus to be your Savior, when you believe that He paid the penalty you deserve for your sins, two transactions take place. Jesus pays the penalty for your sin, and you experience the reward for His perfection.
Jesus offered the unique solution to our greatest dilemma. What can we do to be right with God? Every other religion answers that question, “Work.” But Jesus answers, “Grace.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus: Man, Myth, Or Messiah?” ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.