Many people seem to think that Christianity is one of the many religions of the world. And of course religion is all about believing the right things, following the rules, earning a spot in heaven.
However, if you read the New Testament you clearly see that eternal life is a gift of God that must be received by faith. You do not rely on your good record, but Jesus’ record. Your sins, not His were nailed to the cross.
I remember sitting outside a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. Men and women filled the elaborate, colorful temple grounds, where they daily performed their religious rituals. Meanwhile, I was engaged in a conversation with a Buddhist leader and a Muslim leader in this particular community. They were discussing how all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different. “We may have different views about small issues,” one of them said, “but when it comes down to essential issues, each of our religions is the same.”
I listened for a while, and then they asked me what I thought. I said, “It sounds as though you both picture God (or whatever you call god) at the top of a mountain. It seems as if you believe that we are all at the bottom of the mountain.
As a Christian, I work my way up the mountain. As a Buddhist, you take another route and work your way up. And then you as a Muslim go up the mountain a third way. In essence, we all work our way up the mountain in that we are all following similar religious laws.
They smiled as I spoke. Happily they replied, “Exactly! You understand!”
Then I leaned in and said, “Now let me ask you a question. What would you think if I told you that the God at the top of the mountain actually came down to where we are? What would you think if I told you that God doesn’t wait for people to find their way to him, but instead he comes to us?”
They thought for a moment and then responded, “That would be great.”
I replied, “Let me introduce you to Jesus.”
The Bible is quite clear, we cannot make it up the mountain by ourselves. Jesus has come to us. In fact His mission was to come and rescue us. One of my favorite verses that describes this rescue is in Colossians where Paul says:
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.” (1:13,14)
So many see the God of the Bible as nothing more than an angry, judgmental, and wrathful God. Yet in reality, we should see Him as one who comes to rescue us, remembering that when someone comes to your rescue, it is because you are in danger and cannot save yourself.