Three Reasons Christianity Is the Opposite of Other Religions

Christianity is the opposite of other religions, and the main difference is contained in a few profound words Abraham spoke to his son, Isaac. Genesis 22:7 and 8:

Isaac said, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Abraham replied, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

1. Christianity is the opposite of other religions, because God provided the Sacrifice

For a moment, consider the absurdity of Abraham’s words: “God will provide His own lamb for sacrifice. He will provide what’s necessary to worship Him.”

This doesn’t make sense. Religion is about what man does. At the heart of every religion is an individual providing a sacrifice. That’s what makes it worship. A sacrifice that doesn’t involve any sacrifice isn’t really be a sacrifice. Yet God can be worshiped even though He provided the sacrifice.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Abraham prophetically said God would provide the Lamb for Himself. John the Baptist saw Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

2. Christianity is the opposite of other religions, because God did the work

In other works-based religions, even those that claim to be Christian, people do the work. But in Christianity God has done the work. This doesn’t just make Christianity different than other religions. This is why Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

The Tower of Babel was the first organized rebellion against God. It also serves as a good picture of all false, works-based religions. The people said, “Come, let us build a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:3).

  • Other religions are about man reaching up to God. The people say, “Let us…”
  • Christianity is about God reaching down to man. God says, “I will…”

God did this so dramatically He actually became a Man in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul explained it like this in Philippians 2:6-8:

Though [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

3. Christianity is the opposite of other religions, because God did the propitiating

Propitiation is a gift, offering, or sacrifice meant to turn away the wrath of an offended individual. The closest English words are appeasing, expiating, placating, pacifying, or satisfying. In other religions, the responsibility for propitiating is on man. Although, whenever propitiation is discussed in Scripture, it always discusses what God did for man:

  • Romans 3:25 [Jesus] whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood.
  • Hebrews 2:17 In all things He had to be made like His brethren…to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
  • 1 John 2:2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
  • 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

In other religions man puts forth the effort, brings the sacrifice, provides the offering, etc. But in Christianity, like Abraham prophesied, “God provides for Himself the Lamb.” The Lord did what was necessary to turn away His own wrath, by pouring it out on His Son, Jesus Christ.

God provided the only sacrifice that could ever satisfy Him

To go a step further, not only did God provide the sacrifice, He actually became the sacrifice. To tie it back to the typology between Isaac and Jesus, like Isaac was willing to become the sacrifice, Jesus was willing to become the sacrifice. This is why Jesus is called the Lamb OF God. He is the Lamb God provided.

If we made propitiation for our sins:

  • It would be about us showing our love for God.
  • It would allow us to be prideful and take credit for our salvation.

But the way God did it reveals His love for us and leaves Him with all the credit and glory. This is why Christianity is the opposite of other religions. This is why only in biblical Christianity does God receive all the glory and praise. It is not about what what we have done for God. It is about God, and what He has done for us.

Discuss: 

  • Do you often think about what you need to do for God, or do you think about what God has done for you?
  • When you think about what God has done for you, in what ways should that affect your life?

I discussed all of this in greater detail in this sermon: Genesis 22:5-8: A Father’s Love.

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23 thoughts on “Three Reasons Christianity Is the Opposite of Other Religions

  1. To be honest, Hinduism is the FIRST religion that mentioned God taking form and sacrificing himself. Vishnu offered his blood as a sacrifice for man’s sins in the Kurma Purana, long before Jesus was even born.

    The only effort we put in is NOT to get into heaven, but to curtail our suffering on this plane. Regardless if you believe in Jesus or not stress, anxiety, depression, disease, poverty etc… still affects you. Spiritual cultivation is to destroy suffering.

    1. Hi Adam,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I confess my understanding of Hinduism is fairly limited, but correct me if I’m wrong. Isn’t salvation (or moksha) attained when Hindus break free from the cycle of reincarnation and become one with what they believe to be God? And this takes place by eliminating the bad karma from your life? To me, this is works-based, which is the opposite of Christianity: salvation by grace through faith, not by works (Ephesians 2:8). In that sense Christianity would stand opposed to Hinduism, right? Hindus are attempt to remove karma by sacrificial devotion and service, mastering your actions to please your god, and through knowledge of the creation. Seems very work-based to me unless I’m missing something.

  2. When you really think about how different Christianity is, it should guide your entire life. I must admit, that having been in church all my life, I tend to take it for granted and should think about it more. I have enjoyed a deeper look at Jesus’ sacrifice this Easter season.

    1. Hi Tara,
      Yes, you’re right—thinking about what Christ has done for us should affect the way we live. We’re not saved by works, but works are the evidence that we are saved, or they’re the evidence that we’re thankful to Christ for what He’s done for us.

  3. Hey Scott, what a great reminder that following Jesus is about what he did for me, not what I can do for him. Although I ‘know’ this, as a driven person I frequently find myself trying to find value in how much I get done throughout the day.

    To answer your 2nd discussion question, I’d like to get to the end of my day and start framing it in terms of how God views me in Christ. Not what I’ve done or not done. That would, ironically, take the pressure off and allow me to more honestly assess how it really went.

    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Bryan,
      Yes, we “know” it, but we need to be reminded. I was reminded while reading and writing my own post! I think this is one of the reasons the Word is so repetitive. Some things we need to hear again and again. What Jesus did for us being one of the most important!

      Thanks for your thoughts Brother!

    1. Thank you Caroline.

      Even if people didn’t embrace Christianity it would still be wonderful if they at least didn’t believe “it’s the same as every other religion.”

    1. Hi Marie,
      I agree, and that’s what separates the Gospel from the works-based religions…which is really to say that’s what separates Christianity from all other religions.

  4. Martin Luther (1483-1546). While studying law, Luther, fearing death in a thunderstorm, promised God he would become a monk if God spared him. As a monk and professor of Bible at the University of Wittenberg, Luther attempted to secure his salvation by adhering to a very strict code of ethics, obedience to the monastic order, and ceaseless confession. This proved unsatisfactory and Luther continued to have intense emotional struggles with his own salvation until an epiphany struck him in the tower of his Augustinian monastery. It was during this “tower experience” that Luther realized that salvation was a free gift imputed to man through Christ’s righteousness. We are justified by the grace of God through the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. Our good works, then, do not cause our salvation, but rather they are a result of our salvation. God does not love us because we are good—we are good because God loves us. With this new understanding of salvation, Luther went on to criticize the Catholic Church for, among other things, selling indulgences to people with the promise that these purchases would help assure their salvation. Luther protested this and other things in his famous Ninety-five Theses. This eventually led to a major conflict between Luther and his German supporters and the Catholic Church in Rome. The end result was the Protestant Reformation, although Luther saw himself not as the creator of a new church, but as a reformer of the Catholic Church, leading her back to the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith alone.

    1. This is great, thanks Steve. I’m familiar with this testimony, and I heard – whether it’s true or not – that the specific verse Luther heard going through his mind was, “The just shall live by faith.” Praise God for the work He’s done.

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