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    Christianity: Queen of Religions

    October 17, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    My dear friend G. is finishing up her final project for her graduate degree. She sent out an email this week, asking for help on her final project. She wanted ideas, and she promised that if our ideas were worth thinking, we just might make it into her paper.

    Well, how could I refuse?

    I got so carried away and excited, that I thought I’d post it here, just for fun. Because every good idea deserves extra mileage, no?

    Friend G. {or perhaps I ought to say Friend G.’s professor} asked:

    In the face of all of the competing options in the religious marketplace, what in the person and work of Jesus Christ does Christianity offer that is utterly and profoundly unique? Do not limit yourself only to the question of how one gets to heaven, or the uniqueness of Christ’s person as the God-man, but be sure to include discussion of Christianity’s uniqueness for the believer’s life now. What does the follower of Christ have that is real to him or her today that cannot be found in any other religious faith? This assignment does not ask you to become knowledgeable about other religions as much as to more deeply understand biblical Christianity.

    I felt like Pooh, walking around, hoping that my thinker might Think. Of course, the most unique things were what the question already acknowledged. So I decided to get personal, and just share what I have been becoming more and more excited about over the last six months or so.

    I pasted my answer below.

    I think our faith is unique in every way! There are so many options. As I was thinking, I realized that one thing that has been at the forefront of my own mind in the past year or so is the idea of rebirth. Every other religion leaves us where we are, but makes demands upon us which we cannot fulfill, for we are fallen. But in Christ, we are a new creationHe is making all things new, and even though that does mean we are instantly perfect people, it means He is working in us to restore and strengthen us from within–we do not have to depend upon ourselves.

    I suppose in one sense, I am talking about an order of events. In Christianity, the word “salvation” can actually have three meanings: justification {which is the initial point of salvation, where we are legally declared righteous in Christ}, sanctification {where we become free of the power of sin–free to do and be good–over time}, and glorification {where we are literally free of sin, and receive our new bodies after death or Judgment Day}. Other religions that come to mind, require man to first sanctify himself in his own power, and then hopefully he’s good enough to be justified and glorified at the end. But for us, we receive the Spirit in the very beginning, at the point of justification, and then we have His help. In fact, it isn’t just help–we are made new.

    That is so powerful! I am not the old dying creature; I have new life!

    There is a saying in Christianity: “Grace restores nature.” What hope! We are made new…in ourselves. God doesn’t make us something else, but rather He begins to make us what we were meant to be–what we would have been if there had been no fall. We therefore do not lose ourselves in Him, but we are found in Him. I can be more of what I ought to be–a good mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter–in Him. Without Him, I have all these things I should be–all these things I know I was meant to be–but I am powerless to be them because I am lost in sin. But when He gave me grace, He began to make me new again.

    In a single sentence, then, I’d say that what I love about Christianity is redemption. I mean, big, powerful, all-encompassing redemption. It is available to us right here, right now, and we don’t have to do anything to get it. It is just part of the gift He gives us when He chooses us for His children. I love that He is making ALL things new–that He is redeeming everything around me, and spreading His kingdom over the world. He is redeeming my children, my friends, and my family, yes, but He is also working to redeem the creation and everything in it. I get excited about His kingdom because of the redemption it offers to the whole world!

    This gives me hope. I can’t stop the kingdom of God–I can’t mess it up, even when I fail miserably–and yet I get to be a part of it’s growth. It’s very exciting, and it is, I think, very unique to our faith. I can’t think of any faith which offers anything close to this!

    What about you? What is your favorite, unique thing about our faith?

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  • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples October 21, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Oh yeah, and I think my favorite unique thing about my faith is the personal and close relationship I can have with Jesus. My God is not just some god who I am praying to or worshipping with no response, but a true God who knows me inside and out and shows Himself to me in kind, loving, and personal ways. It continues to get more exciting as time goes by, and I grow more in my knowledge, understanding, and closeness to Him. Amazing!

  • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples October 21, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I love it! Thank you for sharing. It is very exciting to really ponder this and rejoice in the freedom and joy redemption brings! Praise the Lord!

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts October 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    That is so true Sharlene! What you said reminded me of II Timothy 1:12. We know that God is able to keep us.

    I am also reminded of a book I read on the Amish once. I was so surprised that they claim they cannot know their salvation with certainty. They “hope” that it is real. I was so sad for them!

  • Reply Sharlene October 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I think for me the unique and wonderful thing about Christianity is the confidence it gives. I KNOW I am saved. I KNOW I am justified. I KNOW God answers prayer. I KNOW that God’s way is best. I KNOW that obey God leads to blessings. Since God is real and His Word is true, the confidence and peace that is available through Christ is amazing.

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