Are all religions the same? It’s an assertion that we hear often.
And, in a very limited sense, the assertion is correct. After all, most religions are very similar. They all have prayer, holy writings, offerings, sacrifices, and particular beliefs that are important.
When you get beyond the facade, all religions are not the same. Christianity is very different. Nowhere is this more evident than the New Covenant in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jeremiah received this from the Lord six hundred years before the time of Christ. When Jesus came to earth, he alluded to this passage at the time of the Lord’s Supper. He took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to the disciples: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).
Years later, the writer of Hebrews quoted Jeremiah’s new covenant in its entirety (Hebrews 8:8-12). In a subsequent passage, the author quoted the last two verses of the new covenant passage (Hebrews 10:15-17). What makes this so significant is the fact that the theme of Hebrews is the superiority of Christ. Christ is superior to all that had come before. The writer of Hebrews wanted us to know that Christ is superior in every way. The old covenant could not be kept. Hebrews points out that even the Day of Atonement was inadequate because it did not have the ability to forgive sin once for all. The sacrifice of Christ, on the other hand, was all-sufficient. What Christ did is never to be repeated simply because it worked for all time! (Hebrews 10:11-14).
This is the first reason why faith in Christ is distinctive. Christ gives His followers the way to carry out His commands. He makes the new covenant possible by writing His instruction on the very heart and mind of His followers. The believer in Christ can keep the commands of Christ because of the gift of God’s Spirit. For further discussion of this point, please read the previous post concerning the assertion that “All Religions Are Alike.”
Christ does more. He opens the way to God and presents God as One who we can know personally. Through the new covenant, God allows us to know Him. This openness to God is available for everyone. In fact, God desires that everyone would know Him. The day will come when “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language” will stand around the throne (Revelation 7:9). The knowledge of God will be for all. It will not be limited to prophet or priest but will be “from the least of them to the greatest” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
God is person. He reveals Himself personally and He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. This is so different. He is a God who wants to be known and a God that you would want to know. He is love (1 John 4:8). The more I know about God the more my childhood prayer means. “God is great; God is good.”
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