Posted on

3 reasons Christianity is the opposite of other religions

3 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.

Posted on

7 ways Abigail is a type of Christ

7 ways Abigail is a type of Christ

When we think of types of Jesus, the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14), manna (John 6:51), rock in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4), or certain individuals like Joseph, Moses, David and Solomon probably come to mind. But Abigail? Probably not, but she should!

Jesus is our propitiation. Since this isn’t a word we use often here’s a simple definition: a gift, offering or sacrifice meant to turn away the wrath of an offended individual. The closest English words would be appeasing, expiating, placating, pacifying, or satisfying.

Here are two examples of propitiation in the Old Testament to give you an idea what it looks like:

  • In 1 Samuel 6:1-6 the Philistines wanted to return the ark to Israel, but they knew God was angry so they offered Him five golden tumors and five golden rats to hopefully turn away His wrath.
  • In 2 Samuel 21:1-6 seven men were sacrificed to turn away the wrath of the Gibeonites.

Another example of propitiation takes place in 1 Samuel 25. David helped Nabal, a man whose name fittingly means “fool”, and he responded to David’s kindness by insulting him. David was so angry, he told his men, “Strap on your swords!” (v. 13).

Enter Abigail as a type of Christ in turning away David’s wrath…

First, Abigail provided an offering on Nabal’s behalf.

Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys” (v. 18).

[She told David] “And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord” (v. 27).

Like Jesus provided an offering on our behalf: Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Second, Abigail sought to bear Nabal’s iniquity.

“On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!” (v. 24).

Like Jesus bore our iniquity: Isaiah 53:11b For He shall bear their iniquities.

Third, Abigail asked for Nabal’s forgiveness.

“Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant” (v. 28)

Like Jesus asks to see us forgiven: Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Fourth, David accepted Abigail as an intercessor.

David said to Abigail, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!” (v. 32).

Like the Father accepts the Son as an Intercessor: 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

Fifth, Abigail turned away David’s wrath.

David said, “Unless you had hurried and come to meet me, by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” (v. 34).

Like Jesus turned away God’s wrath1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sixth, Abigail established peace between David and Nabal.

“Go up in peace to your house” (v. 35a).

Without Abigail there would have’ve been judgment on Nabal, but Abigail established peace between David and Nabal.

Like Jesus established peace between us and GodColossians 1:20b [Jesus] made peace through the blood of [the] cross.

Seventh, David was pleased with Abigail’s character.

“See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person” (v. 35b).

Like God is pleased with Jesus’ characterMatthew 3:17 a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

This account makes Abigail a wonderful type of Christ in turning away the wrath of God that is against us for our foolishness: 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.

Discuss:

  • Do you see any other ways Abigail looks like Christ?
  • Would you share your favorite type of Christ in the Old Testament?

Leave your answer(s) in the comments section!