While the Apostle Paul was on his missionary journeys, he encountered many cities that considered themselves “religious centers”. They were recognized as such because the people who lived there worshipped many gods. Perhaps the greatest “religious center” of all was Athens. Paul found so many altars of worship in Athens that it distressed him.
One altar in particular stood out to the Apostle as no other – the altar to “The Unknown God”. In fear of leaving a god out that they may have overlooked, they dedicated one altar to him.
Paul seized upon that opportunity to introduce them to the God in whom “we live and move and have our being.” He spoke of God who “has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed (Jesus Christ), “He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:28,31) To that message some sneered but “a few men became followers of Paul and believed.” (Acts 17:32)
As Paul fully knew, religion, no matter how much of it, does not and cannot answers man’s deepest need. Religion is man’s attempt to connect with a higher power. But for all of man’s searching, human efforts cannot discover God. God comes to us by revelation and fortunately for us, He has taken the initiative to reach out to us through His son Jesus Christ.
Christianity is based on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth, died on the cross to save us from our sins, and rose again and who sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with us and to guarantee every believer eternal life. Of all the religions in the world, and there are many, there is no spiritual leader who has died and rose again for his followers. Every known religious or spiritual leader who has lived, died without any record or evidence of resurrection. You can even go to the burial site of some of them.
The popular thought that some would have you believe is that “one religion is as good as another.” That certainly is not true. Most religions of the world have in them some good, moral teaching. But only Christianity can claim a life changing, spiritually transforming experience that Jesus called “being born again.”(John 3:3) Only Christianity speaks of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8) and who is our teacher and counselor guiding us in “all truth”. (John 16:13). Only Christianity teaches us about the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16) and continues the work that Christ began while he was on earth.
Do not be misled by those who claim that all spiritual roads lead to the same destination. Clearly, the Bible does not make this assumption. Recognize also that bad religion and bad theology is not only dangerous, it is the curse of the world. Bad religion and bad theology such as satanic worship can take you down the wrong road. It is evil, deceptive, even enticing but in the end, it is destructive.
The world doesn’t need religion. The world needs Jesus. He is the answer to those walking in darkness. He is peace and hope. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the one who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He took our sins upon himself. Jesus is eternal, abundant life. The Bible does not promote religion, it magnifies Jesus. The gate to eternal life with God in heaven is not religion – It is Jesus Christ
In His Love, Charles