When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” –Matthew 19:25-26
The difference between Christianity and every other religion is that Christianity is impossible. Every other religion starts with the premise: If I do certain things and don’t do other things, I’ll be saved.
The Koran explains that if a Muslim’s good works outweigh their bad works, Allah may forgive them. Buddhists have the Eightfold Path they need to follow perfectly, Hindus need to be reincarnated again and again until they live a life just right, and the Jews have the Torah they must follow to earn a right standing with God through legalism.
While the details may seem different, the path to salvation is the same in all the religions of the world: Work hard and you will reach God.
True Christianity is based on a different premise: The Bible explains that since we are all imperfect people, there is nothing you can do on your own to reach God. God has to reach out and grab you. Most of us would consider ourselves good people, but none of us would consider ourselves perfect people. God is so holy, so powerful, and so pure, one sin is one too many.
The demands of the true God are not difficult, yet doable, like all other religions say. The demands of the true God are impossible because none of us are sinless.
All the other religions paint a picture of God sitting on a mountain with many paths leading up to him. Christianity paints a picture of God sitting on a mountain with no way up. The only way for God to be with the people He loves was for Him to come down the mountain and carry us up to the top himself.
Jesus came down the mountain to save us. He came to earth to do what we could not. He lived a perfect life, He died a perfect death for our sins, and He alone has earned a perfect relationship with the Father. Through the cross of Christ, out of his love for us, God made a way. He put our sinfulness on Jesus so that he might put Jesus’ perfections on us.
Therefore, Christianity does not center around a list of do’s and don’ts like every other religion. It centers around a Savior who already accomplished for us what we could never accomplish on our own. The only true way to be free from all the pain, addictions, fear, confusion, and relational hurts our rebellion has caused is to put our faith in Jesus Christ. You’ve been hurt, and you’ve hurt other people, and only Jesus can make it all right.
The religious books of the world are all the same. They’re full of tasks we must do if we hope to make it to heaven. To try and save yourself by working in your own strength to be a perfect person is impossible. The Bible presents a different way. The Bible is not a book about what you must do, it’s ultimately a book about a Savior you need to know.
So, basically, Christianity is different because of one little word: grace. It’s different because of one simple name: Jesus.
All the other religions depend on you. Christianity depends on Christ.