Jesus, Forgiveness, Healing, Grace, Mercy, Redemption are all words that are associated with Christianity but the understanding of them is being lost today's world.
The Uniqueness of Christianity
I mentioned earlier that Judaism and Christianity has something unique about them that separates them from other religious Faiths. This uniqueness is that they are founded upon a recorded History of God seeking Mankind rather than the many different opinions formed by mankind seeking to define God.
The Old Testament section of the Bible, along with other subjects, recounts how the Jewish Nation was founded upon the faith of a man named Abraham and his children. Some time later, God gave Moses ‘Ten Commandments’ to show the Jews how to become a civilised nation with a promise that if they followed them then they would be blessed. Due to God’s help in this way, the Jews were reckoned by many neighbouring Nations to be ‘God’s chosen people’. However, the mistake the Jews themselves made in this was in interpreting it as their being ‘God’s favourite people’. (Christians today need to be sure to avoid making the same mistake) The truth is that God loves all people equally but his purpose in choosing the Jews was for them to be an example for the rest of the world to follow as to how to live in a Civilised manner.
The New Testament (not accepted by the Jews) starts with the arrival of the Jewish Messiah, (Jesus) who had been long promised by God’s Jewish Old Testament Prophets. But he was found to be far different than the Warrior King that they expected and he was rejected by his own people. (Click here to read 'Who is this Jesus', if required). Some people, even today, look upon the crucifixion of Jesus as a sign of failure. But Jesus' death was not a result of a ’good plan gone wrong’. The rejection by the Jews was also part of God’s plan and has resulted in, all that Jesus came to show mankind, being spilled out to the rest of the world. Jesus came to found, not a new or improved ‘Religion’, but a completely new way of life known as ‘Christianity’.
It’s worth me quoting here some what the opening Chapter of St John’s Gospel has to say about Jesus - “But although he made the world, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, the Jews, he was not accepted. Only a few would welcome and receive him. But to all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God. All they needed to do was to trust him to save them”. (John Ch 1 vs 10 to 12 Living Bible)
Later, in that same Chapter St John wrote - "For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving Forgiveness as well" (John Ch 1 vs 17 Living Bible) But what does this verse mean?
St Matthew explains what St John meant when he recorded Jesus as saying - "Don't misunderstand why I have come - it isn't to cancel the laws of Moses and the warnings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfil them, and to make them all come true. With all the earnestness I have to say: Every law in the Book will continue until its purpose is achieved. And so if anyone breaks the least commandment, and teaches others to, he shall be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But those who teach God's laws and obey them shall be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you - unless your goodness is greater than that of the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders, you can't get into the Kingdom of Heaven at all!" (Matt Ch 5:17 to 20 Living Bible)
Strong stuff indeed, as was Jesus' continuation with what is popularly known as 'The Sermon on the Mount'. Here Jesus raised the demands of the Law even higher where, for example, he said "Under the laws of Moses the rule was 'If you murder, you must die' But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment" (Matt Ch 5:21 & 22). He concluded this sermon by stating that we need to become perfect! But in all this Jesus was not only confirming the continuing and everlasting need for the Law, he was also setting the scene to introduce a new approach to the Law. By raising the stakes to a level impossible for anybody to achieve, Jesus was wanting people to realise that if they couldn't even meet the demands of the original Law in their own strength then they would certainly need God's help to meet his even higher standards.
Jesus wants each of us to realise today that we also need his help and that it is freely available should we turn to him and ask for it. As written earlier in this Web site, the choice is ours - we can either try to get through life, and expect to be happy, using our own strength, wits and talents or we can choose to seek God's help.
It is this help from God that makes Christianity so unique. As said at the very beginning of this Web site - Christianity, while often being presented as an alternative set of religious rules to be followed, is far more about a real and personal relationship with a man named Jesus. And like all relationships, it has a beginning and then an ongoing development into an eventual 'Covenant Relationship' (What a Covenant Relationship is is presented later)
Click here to read - ‘What is a Covenant relationship?’
Click here to read the reasons - 'Why I'm a Christian'
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