A Unique Feature of Christianity
Christianity holds a unique position among other religions in regard to entrance into heaven or paradise. Other religions place the responsibility for gaining heaven upon the individual. The gods of non-Christian religions do not offer salvation as a gift but as a reward for accomplishing some task (s). In contrast, Jesus Christ offers entrance into heaven as a gift which cannot be gained by individual effort, but only by the accomplishment of Christianity’s God.
Christianity teaches that its God is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Jesus earned the title of supreme God by offering Himself as a payment for all human sin and then rising from the dead (Philippians 2:1-11). In this way, Christianity stands out from among any other religion. All other gods require some effort from their followers to gain entrance into heaven. Christ offers His own works to those who, under their own merit, cannot be good enough to enter into heaven, which includes all of us.
The gospel of Jesus Christ places the burden of being good enough from the individual person to God Himself. And Jesus Christ is more than good enough to save. This is why the Bible says the way to enter into heaven is not by works but by depending upon (believing in) what Jesus Christ did (Acts 16:31).
A Reason Why the Church Matters
The worth of an object is measured by the price one is willing to pay for that object. Therefore, value is not arrived at by consensus. If even one buyer agrees to pay the price, his or her willingness establishes an item’s value.
Consider the value of the Church. By “Church” (with a capital “C”) I mean the people who follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. What is the value of Christ’s Church?
The apostle Paul answered this question as he was addressing some church leaders. Paul described the Church as that which Jesus purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). The apostle was obviously referring to the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made on behalf of sinners. And those sinners who laid down their sin to follow the Lord became His Church.
In Paul’s words, we learn the value of Christ’s Church. It is an estimation of high worth. Believers in Jesus Christ are those who have been redeemed or purchased by God with God’s own blood. And Jesus is the only One willing to pay that price!
Does the Church matter? It certainly does. Its value comes not from the world or from any self-righteousness of individual believers. The value of Christ’s Church is set by God Himself.
Learn to hold onto this present life with a loose grip. Be careful not to be lulled into believing the best is here and now. For the believer in Jesus Christ, this world cannot compare to what comes after this life. Live your present life with joy, not because of any stuff of this earth, but because you possess eternal life in Christ.
Rather spend the rest of your days in this world learning to be consumed with Christ. Let go of the temporary and grasp onto that which is eternal. Christ is your life. Be consumed with Him. Invest in knowing Him, loving Him, and serving Him.
The apostle Paul was consumed with Christ (Philippians 1:21). He determined that his life here on earth was to be invested in the things of God. Paul prepared for heaven by laying aside all else for the cause of Jesus, His Savior.
Do shiny things of the world still catch your eye? Begin turning over your worldly desires to the Master. Candidly tell Him about what attracts you away from Him. Then yield your attractions to Christ. Let Him woo your heart with His word.
Randy Weddle is the pastor of Community Church of Mooresville, Indiana and Mount Pleasant Christian Church, Monrovia Indiana