Let me say something about other religions real quick. Why do people get religious? They get religious because they’re looking for something. Maybe it’s inner peace. Maybe it’s purpose. Maybe it’s to placate their guilt. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity. People get religion because it satisfies some aching of the heart—or at least poses as something that will satisfy.
People say that Buddhism gives them inner peace. People say that the Baha’i Faith gives them purpose. Muslims take solace that their life of submission to Allah will result in a heavenly reward of black-eyed virgins. And so they find peace, purpose, and solace in their false, misguided religions. But let me tell you something—though they may have a measure of peace, a newfound purpose, or even a solace in death—they do not have anything to deal with their sins. They enter eternity without anything or anyone removing the stain of sin that plagues them. That’s what separates Christianity from everything else.
Jesus said that he came to seek and save the lost. The reason Jesus came into our world was to deal with the problem of sin. It wasn’t to be an instruction manual. It wasn’t to be your life coach. It wasn’t to be a glowing example. It wasn’t to be a martyr. It wasn’t to give you your best life now. It was to deal with the problem of human sin.
If you’re looking for a life-coach, or some principles to help you get through the days, or some great advice on how to live morally—go to the local bookstore in the self-help section. You’ll find all kinds of helpful things—and none of them will be able to deal with the problem of sin.
If you come to church because Jesus is a good example, Jesus gives you purpose, Jesus was a great moral teacher—you’ve missed the point. Jesus was all those things but that wasn’t the point. He came to die for sins. He came to bear the brunt of God’s wrath toward repentant sinners. That’s what Christianity is—we are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ. That’s Christianity. That’s the gospel. It’s not rules, lists, rituals, laws—it’s not be good, be better, be a servant—be, be, be. The gospel is not be. It’s believe. Believe that Jesus is the son of God, the King of the Universe, and give your full allegiance to him. And what happens when you do that will blow your mind. Peter calls it “joy inexpressible and filled with glory”—he’s running out of adjectives! There is a solution to your guilt. There is a solution to your condemnation. And his name is Jesus.