We hear it incessantly. “Truth is relative.” “There is no one way to God.” “All will be redeemed if their good deeds outweigh their evil ones.” On and on we receive commentary from mortal men that is based upon their humble estimations about who an immortal God is and how he acts. And even among those who claim to seek their understanding about God from an outside source such as the Book of Mormon or the Quran, we start to see some striking similarities among them all.
This similarity is this, namely that there is good and there is evil, and men, in order live eternally, must do more good deeds than evil deeds. It is the burden of men, not to know God chiefly, but to appease him with works. It is pervasive among all religions, whether they be personally conjured or based upon antiquity, and they all share the exact same principle though expressed in different terminology and played with different sorts of rules. Well, that is all religions save one.
Biblical Christianity stands alone in this regard. For it is Christianity alone that declares, “[Salvation] depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy” (Rm. 9:16). Christianity alone declares that men are not justified by works of the law but in a faith in God that is itself granted by God (cf. John 6:29; Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8). Christianity alone declares that God has before the foundation of the world hand-picked those whom he would save and would adopt as his children (cf. Eph. 1:3-6). And it is Christianity alone that declares that all these things are done, including the salvation of men, not for the sake of men chiefly but for the glory of God.
Therefore, it is Christianity alone that declares that end of all things is God. Creation, the Fall, Redemption, disaster, tribulation, etc. all exist by God and for God. There is nothing that exists that does not speak of his glory, and there is nothing that exists that is centered upon men.
And this perhaps is the greatest reason why biblical Christianity is such a stench in the world. We like to attribute Christianity’s putrescence to our own making, but, in the end, Christianity is despised because it declares men can do nothing to save themselves. If men will be saved, God will save them. If mercy is to be shown, God will show it. If compassion is to granted, God will grant it. And no human deed and no act of the human will will sway God in this matter. It rests upon him alone.
And this, my friends, is what distinguishes Christianity from every other religion on the planet. Christianity declares that you cannot work yourself to God, but you must believe upon Jesus Christ and repent and learn that if you have believed upon Jesus Christ and have repented it is because he has given you that faith and repentance.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Cor. 2:14-16; 4:1-6).