“Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and now lives with God in heaven. They believe that if they lead good lives, they too will go to heaven when they die.”
-from one of my daughter’s homeschool books which was describing world religions
No, the message of Christianity is the opposite. There is none who does good (Rom. 3:10-18). There is no God seeker. The effect of the Fall is upon all men (Rom. 1:21). That includes their will, mind, and the decisions they make. Man’s heart is not and cannot be right before God by anything we may do (Jer. 13:23, 17:9). Without God we’re dead in our sin, not just in a bad way, but dead (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). No one can do what is pleasing to God (John 6:43-44, 65; Rom. 8:8). This means that any kind of works-based salvation like the quote describes above is impossible (Rom. 3:27,28; 4:1-8).* We’re entirely dependent upon God’s saving grace.
The message of Christianity is that Christ the Righteous One died for the unrighteous (2 Cor. 5:21)! We’re saved by His good works, not by living “good lives”. The work of God is that we believe in Jesus (John 6:29).
Out of every worldview I’ve interacted with, I have by far found Buddhists to be the most self-righteous individuals I’ve ever come across. I’m not speaking about the monk down the street who plays shooter games in the internet cafe nor the monks who yell at the people at the market. I’m talking about Buddhists that I’ve had real meaningful conversations with about their faith.
One Buddhist man told me if I was sick and poor that he’d say I didn’t give enough at the temple. I asked a Buddhist last week, “What is the message of Buddhism?” and he replied, “I do what I want and it makes me feel good.” We had just spoken about ISIS and what had taken place in France. Doesn’t that make ISIS feel good? On what grounds can he say what they did was wrong if there is no God to define what is good?
Buddhism is standing firm in mid-air. It is “operating without all its buttons” as my friend would say.
I asked the man, “What about origins? Do you have a creation story or do you believe we descended from highly evolved African primates?” He replied, “I don’t care about those things.” So that’s Buddhism for you. Basic worldview questions are avoided. This has been a common trend among most Buddhists I’ve spoken to.
I asked what he thought about Christianity and he said, “I don’t really care for it.” He then explained how offensive the message is that Jesus is the only way. I followed up with asking what he believes the message of Christianity is. He said, “The message of Christianity is the same as all the other religions – do good.” His understanding of the message of Christianity was the same as the misinformed homeschool book quoted above. At this point I could have responded by showing how much knowledge he lacked of all the world religions because they do not teach this. I could have pointed out that he had no objective standard by which to say something is good and something is bad. But I chose instead to take what he said head-on. I asked, “Would it be OK with you if I tell you what the message of Christianity is?” He said, “Yes” and then I explained that the message of Christianity is the exact opposite of “Do good” and provided much of the information listed above about our state before God and why we need a Savior. I explained that we are saved FOR good works and not BY good works (Eph. 2:8-10). It is so different.
Unless the sinner is shown the sinfulness of sin, he’ll never see his need nor appreciate the Savior. But when he sees his sinful state for what it is, he’ll treasure the Savior and the name of Jesus will be precious to him!
In works-righteousness religions it is “do and do and do”. Christianity is “receive and do IN LIGHT OF what you’ve received”.
For those hanging on to works-righteousness – check out Gal. 5:4 and Gal.1:8-9
Buddhists need to be shown that they have greatly broken the law of God and that there is only one way to be right before Him. That is through the work which He has done – not by our works, but His! Believe on the One who was sent! Cling to Him and His righteousness – alone! Someone said before, “Christ’s righteousness is not all we need. It’s all we have!”
I say this all the time…it is one thing to reject the Christian message, it is another thing to never hear it. Let’s be sure people are understanding the message of the grace of God that is found in Christ Jesus.
I am astonished at God’s grace this morning as I’m typing this. Aren’t you?
* This paragraph comes from the Doctrine of Salvation class by Alpha & Omega Ministries
Share and Enjoy