I admit, there are religions that I know more about and others that I don’t know much about. I admit that I believe in Jesus (which categorizes me in Christianity).
I believe that humans were created to worship, and it is clear that we do. We worship, not only in religion but in other created things. We worship sports, video games, technology, Hollywood gossip, alcohol etc. We were created for worship, however after the fall, everything about us went out of order. Instead of worshipping, celebrating with, communing with, loving Creator God, our sights instead of set upon His created things.
If there is one thing that I have noticed in every religion (and yes, this also includes Christianity) is that we often expect people to be cleaned before they begin to worship. We expect them to clean themselves up, white knuckle cure their addictions, their issues etc.
And that is the difference that I see when I compare the Gospel to other religions. When I read Jesus’ words, when I read Paul’s letter’s I don’t see demands of people cleaning themselves up before coming to worship God. I don’t see Jesus expecting the prostitute, or the tax collector to clean themselves up before they were to sit with Him, eat with Him. I see Jesus taking them as they are and loving them for where they are at. When I look at the Gospel, I see Jesus loving us as we are now and not some future version of us. Everywhere I look in the Gospels, I don’t see us doing the heavy lifting, I see God doing the heavy lifting. I see that His Grace, His Blood, The Cross has already done the heavy lifting of cleaning us up, redeeming us, sanctifying us, transforming us. I see Jesus changing us from the inside out. He doesn’t call us to change our outward acts first before deciding to change our hearts, no, He changes our hearts first SO that our outward acts can also change.
In doing so, God gets the credit…the credit He so rightly deserves. He changes everything about us. Even if we were to change how we act, it is nothing more than behaviour modification, it does nothing to change our hearts. Our hearts is what needs changing the most. His Grace, the Gospel does just that, it changes our hearts so that our actions can change. He redeems everything about us, not just a part of us.
Jesus’ love and Grace is fierce. For that I am eternally thankful.