While attending a creative writing class at a local community college, I wrote a poem called ‘The Race.’ Drawing on symbolism, I referenced the race to life and concluded the poem with the words, “I know it’s hard but hold on, even if you suffer loss. Just keep your eye fixed forward set upon that lonely cross.” Upon peer review, one lady commented that she liked the poem, but felt that if I would just leave the word “cross” out of the poem, it could have had more universal appeal. In spite of this suggestion, I left the word in because the cross was the heart of the poem, as it is at the heart of true religion.
You see, the end of every religion is basically about getting good. It’s not really about the reward, but about attaining some level of goodness, and yet nearly every religion strives to attain this level of goodness by their own efforts. In most religions, God has been offended by sin, and man is on a quest to calm His anger and regain His favor. That is, every religion but Christianity.
While every other religion seeks to calm the anger of its gods by being good, the God of the Christian, while offended by sin, loves the sinner. In every other religion, the people try to calm the anger of their gods and seek to fix the relationship with the offended gods, but Christianity is the opposite. We have sinned and do not love God, but God loves us anyway, so He makes the first move to fix the relationship with man. In other religions, men chase their god, but in Christianity, God chases us. Other religions seek to appease their gods by making sacrifices to them, but in Christianity, God is the One who makes the ultimate sacrifice for us. Finally, every other religion bases its hope of reward on making ourselves good enough. In Christianity, our hope of heaven is based on Christ giving us His holiness.
While every other religion strives to obtain purity, goodness, or holiness by accessing power within us, Christianity is the only religion that admits the heart is sinful and unable to reach holiness in our own strength. Not only did the price of our sin have to be paid, but God had to somehow supply us with the power to overcome sin. This was all accomplished through the cross. Through the cross, God intervened and rescued us because He knew that we could not save ourselves. This is what makes Christianity so much superior to all other religions. Every other religion works tirelessly to tame the human heart, but Christianity tells us that the heart is damaged beyond repair and appeals, “Get yourselves a new heart” (Eze. 18:31). In the cross, we can die to our old life and be reborn to a new life.
You see, Christianity offers something that no other religion offers. It offers a cross in which Jesus Christ initiates the relationship with fallen humanity by taking the guilt of your sin, crucifying your sinful nature on the cross, and then putting the heart of God inside you because you have a bad heart. No matter how hard you try, your efforts and rituals will never save you. God does not want your futile efforts to be good. He requires holiness, and the only way to get this is by asking God to come inside your heart and make you holy. Since you cannot do it yourself, God has promised to do it for you. This is done through the cross, so why don’t you accept the sacrifice of that Jesus Christ made on the cross on your behalf today.