Over the course of many years, I have often been asked why Christianity; following Jesus, is different from all other religions of the world. First, we must understand that religion is a creation of man in his attempt to make himself acceptable to God. In reality, the Bible teaches that no person can do anything that would cause God to accept us—except believe what He has said.
The basis for true salvation is in the completed work of Christ, not in man’s performance or attempts at being religious.
In all of the religions of the world, except Biblical Christianity, a person must keep a set of rules in order to be acceptable. The Bible teaches that we cannot do anything to cause God to love us, He already does. The distance between us and God is because of our sin. There is nothing that we can do to remove our sins, or make ourselves better. If we will be acceptable to God, He must do something to change our situation.
God sent Jesus into the world to pay for our sins. When we believe that His death has paid for our sins, God changes our status from sinner to saved. It is really just that simple.
If you will examine the doctrines of every religion in the world you will notice a stunning similarity. Religion requires obedience, Christianity requires trust.
This is not to say that once a person has come into a new relationship with God, through Jesus sacrifice for us, that he can do whatever he wants to do and live any sort of life that he desires. A person who truly realizes what it has cost Jesus to give His life for us, will have a heart that is full of gratitude. When we consider all that Jesus gave up to make our salvation possible, we are compelled to live a different life. We no longer remain the same person as we once were.
The Bible describes this new life as a second birth. At our entrance into this world, we were born by a physical process. The second birth occurs when we agree with God that we are a sinner and in need of a Savior, and place our trust in Jesus. Once we communicate this desire to God by speaking directly to Him, He hears our prayer and removes all of our sins. At that moment, God takes our formerly dead spirit that dwells within us, and makes it come alive. We are transformed on the inside, where our heart, emotions, and inner person reside.
Born of the Spirit
When Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to ask Him questions, John chapter 3 explains that this esteemed Pharisee, though he was trained in all the scriptures, was not saved. Nicodemus had attended the correct schools, obtained a Doctorate in the scriptures, served as a member of the Pharisees, but he was still not saved and on his way to heaven.
Jesus told Nicodemus that “unless a person is Born Again” by the Spirit of God, they cannot enter heaven. Jesus explained that we are born by a natural birth, and we must also be born by a second birth of the Spirit, or we are not saved. This happens when anyone hears that Jesus has come to earth and died for our sins, believes the testimony written about Jesus in the New Testament, is willing to turn from their sins, and trust Jesus for their salvation for the rest of their life.
Paul detailed this event in the book of Romans when he said that it is by faith in what Jesus has done on the cross that saves us, and not by the keeping of the law.
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. ~Romans 3:21-22
Nicodemus asked how this can happen. Jesus said it’s like the wind. We can’t see where the wind comes from or where it is going, but we can see the effects of its presence. Jesus said it is the same with a person who is born again. We can’t see it happen, but we can see what a person is like after it happens.
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? ~John 3:1-10
After we experience this new birth and our heart has been changed, a whole new world opens up to us. We begin to see things in a different way. When we read the text of the Bible, we are able to understand what it is describing. We begin to think differently. We begin to treat people better. Our speech and actions change. All of these changes develop over time. We do not become perfect in all our behavior when we are born again, we are simply forgiven and begin a new life. As infants in this new relationship with God, it takes years to develop into a mature adult. As we study and learn about God from the Bible, we being to understand how to live this new life.
Christians are not perfect people. They often fail. We say things we should not say. We do things that are not fitting for one who is following Jesus. The difference between following Jesus and joining a religion is that when we fail, we have a Savior who is always ready to forgive us—again and again.
The reason that so many people are turned off by religion is simple: it doesn’t work. Trying to be better people by keeping a set of rules is tedious. I don’t know a single person who is able to live up to a code of conduct. We are all the same in this regard; we will never be perfect in this life. The sooner that we realize this and comprehend the reality of what Jesus has done for us, the easier and happier we will be in our life.
The reason that some people give up on following Jesus is because someone has told them that they had to follow the rules or they would not be truly saved. They tried to keep the laws of God but failed again and again. In frustration over not being able to do what they needed to do, they gave up. This is what religion teaches and it is the reason that many, many people do not go to church, join a religion, or believe in God.
True, Biblical Christianity, is completely different.
The Bible teaches that no person is capable of become righteous and keeping all the rules of God’s law. Therefore, we need someone to help us. We need a Savior; One who is qualified to stand in our place and fulfill all the requirements of God’s law—for us. This is precisely what Jesus has accomplished by His entrance into the world.
The entire purpose of Jesus coming to this planet was so that He could live a perfect life, without a single sin, and offer up His perfect life—in exchange for ours. Jesus life has enough value to die for all persons, for all time, because He is God, living within the body of a human being. In order for God to be able to save us, He first had to become one of us. Then He had to live a perfect life and finally offer up that life for us in one singular moment, by dying for our sins.
When we forgive a person we try to let the matter go and act as if it had not happened. When God forgives, there is a penalty to be paid before forgiveness can be given. God said that the “soul who sins, will die.” For this reason, a penalty had to be paid for all of our sins. God is Holy (perfect) and He requires that all those who will live with Him are also perfect and without sin. In order for any one of us to be made ready for heaven when we die, our sins must be removed. The Bible says that by the one sacrifice that Jesus has made for us on the cross, God permanently removed all sins from the world. In order for a person to have their sins forgiven, all they must do is accept God’s offer and believe that Jesus has paid for their sins.
When any person, comes to Jesus in sincerity and ask Him to forgive their sins—He does, regardless of how bad they are or how terrible their sins might be. If this person determines to live the rest of their life for Jesus and to learn from Him (not a church or religion) and allow Jesus to transform them into a new person, they will live the rest of their life in peace and complete assurance that heaven in their final destination when they die.
All of us know in our heart that there has to be more to life than simply existing and then dying. We all understand that sickness, suffering, and death are not natural. We have a sense in our heart that we should not die, but go on and live forever. This is eternity that God has placed in our heart. God made us to live in beauty and perfection—forever. It is because of sin (imperfection) that our bodies become sick and die. We also know that we are guilty for our wrongful words and actions. We feel the sting of conviction when we say or do things that we know are wrong. God gave us a consciousness of sin so that we would feel the need to come to Him. When we bring our guilt to Jesus and confess our sins to Him (not to a church), He forgives us and takes away all the guilt—forever.
This salvation is based upon relationship, not religion.
The prophet Isaiah described a time when God would send His Son into the world and He would become “The Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.”
Isaiah 53:7c He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
The New Testament Fulfillment:
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
From the first sin of Adam in the Book of Genesis, God was anticipating the time when His Son would become the Lamb who would take away the sins of the world. It should be remembered that the offering of Jesus’ life as the Lamb was not an afterthought for God.
The Bible speaks of Jesus as The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Jesus made Himself the object of God’s wrath for our sins, even before He created the first man. The Lord is always in the business of anticipating the needs of human beings. Knowing beforehand that we would require a Savior, Jesus offered His life in exchange for ours before anything else was made.
According to the Book of Exodus, on the 10th day of the first month (Nissan/April), a lamb was chosen who was free of defect and presented on this day to be examined. If He was found to be perfect, He would be offered on the 14th day of Nissan as the Passover Lamb.
Exodus 12:3,6 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: “On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
According to the New Testament, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D., known to us today as Palm Sunday. He was presented to Israel as their Lamb for inspection and no defect was found in Him. Four days later Jesus was offered as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world, in fulfillment of the feast of Passover, on the precise day the Lamb should be offered.
Note: Nissan is the Hebrew calendar month for our month of April
As Jesus rides into Jerusalem on April 6, He is proclaimed by the people by the words: Hosanna to the Son of David, a title ascribed only to the coming of the Messiah.
Matthew 21:9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
According to Psalm 118 (Prophecy 149), these words could only be spoken on “the day” that the Messiah arrived.
Psalms 118:24-26 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We often quote this verse from Psalm 118 whenever there is a particularly beautiful day. The day for which Psalm 118 was written—is a day chosen out of eternity, the specific day that the Messiah would come and be recognized. Psalm 118 contains the language: save now and blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD, because this is what those who were present when the Messiah arrived would proclaim with their shouts of praise. The people who had gathered to greet Jesus as the Messiah were well aware of Psalm 118, and that is why they were reciting this verse as Jesus made His entrance into the city.
On April 6th, 32 A.D. (10th of Nissan), Jesus rides into Jerusalem and is proclaimed the Son of David, the Messiah. This fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah in Chapter 9, verse 25 (Prophecy 309).
The prophet Zechariah also spoke of this very special day when he wrote:
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
See also: Prophecies: 334, 335, 336, 337, 338
Zechariah predicted that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem on a donkey, about 600 years before Jesus arrived in Bethlehem. Daniel’s prophecy of the precise day the Messiah would come to Jerusalem was written almost 700 years before Jesus was born.
When Jesus allowed the authorities to arrest Him, and accuse Him of crimes He did not commit—only to be put Him to death, He was fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies of the Passover Lamb who would take away the sins of the world. Jesus was crucified and died on the exact day that the Passover Lamb of the Old Testament was appointed to die. Jesus knew that He was fulfilling all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah and that He was dying on the precise day that the Passover Lamb should to be killed.
Exodus Chapter 12 contains the specific details for The seven Feasts of Israel.
The Feast of Passover
The Lamb is examined on the 10th (Exodus 12:3), the day Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday. The fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of 483 years from Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. For more on the details of this important prophecy, see Prophecy 309. For specific details of the Passover Lamb, see Prophecy 21.
1. The Passover Lamb must be a Male (Exodus 12:5).
2. He Must be spotless (Exodus 12:5) or perfect. Jesus is described as being without sin (Hebrews 4:15). For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
3. He must be killed at twilight (Exodus 12:6). This was early evening, the time when Jesus was crucified. And about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani” (Matthew 27:46).
4. The whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it (Exodus 12:6). The Jews said of Jesus: Let His Blood be upon us and our children. (Matthew 27:25).
5. The Blood shall be for a sign (Exodus 12:13) …the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
When I see the Blood, I will Pass Over you (Exodus 12:13). …by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed. (Romans 3:25).
The plague shall not be on you to destroy you (Exodus 12:13). There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus… (Romans 8:1).
This day shall be to you a memorial (Exodus 12:14). …And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ (Luke 22:19)
Jesus fulfilled the feast of Passover as the perfect Passover Lamb, on the right day, at the right time of the day.
The following Old Testament Prophecies speak of the Messiah as the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb, described by the Book of Exodus:
A Perfect Sacrifice
Peter speaks of the sacrifice that Jesus made as the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
The principle established by the sacrifice of a perfect Lamb, describes an innocent party who can take the place of the guilty at the place of judgement.
The 21st Old Testament Prophecy of Exodus 12 works closely with this 250th Old Testament Prophecy from Isaiah 53:7. The Messiah will be like the Lamb of Exodus: a male, perfect, and offered as one innocent for those who are guilty. If any future candidate should arrive who would claim to be the Messiah, an evaluation could easily be made of his qualifications. If he is not without sin, a male and willing to die for the guilty, he cannot be the Messiah.
This is why it is illogical to think that any normal man, a religious organization, or even our own attempts at being sufficient to merit God’s acceptance through our good works, could meet the strict qualifications that God set. The standard is “perfection”; anything less is not acceptable by God. All men are born imperfect, and they demonstrate their continued imperfection throughout their entire life; therefore, no man is good enough to meet the standards God requires, to save all of mankind.
When a church or an individual claims that they are the way to God and makes statements which state that by following their doctrine or methods a person can receive eternal life, they are misinformed. We know this because Prophecies 21, 22, 23, 24, 250 establish the strict requirements for the Passover Lamb of Exodus 12. Only Jesus met these high standards, by His sinless life and the fact that He is the eternal Son of God.
No man can save any other man unless he has been able to live a perfect and Holy life himself. Since all men are sinners, no man can be saved without a Savior who is perfect. The testimony of Jesus’ life is that—He was perfect and without sin.
The Blood of the Lamb
It is significant that the blood of the Passover lamb had to be placed on the door post of each household of Israel in order to cause the judgment of God to “pass over” that household.
When the angel, who brought the judgment of death, saw the Blood of the Lamb on the door, those persons who took refuge in that house were spared. When God’s judgment arrived, as He saw the Blood of the Lamb, His wrath and judgment were precluded from hurting anyone in that house. All those who hide behind the covering of the Lamb’s blood are “covered “under the provisions of God.
The Passover feast was an advanced look at the arrival of the Messiah whom Isaiah describes as a lamb (brought) to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7c). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy in its entirety by dying on the specific day that the Passover Lamb should be killed and by the specific laws established for the Lamb. When any person today rests their salvation under the Blood of Jesus Christ, death cannot encompass them; judgement from God for their sins is no more, and eternal life is their present possession.
It is the Blood of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, that justifies us before God and saves us from the coming wrath of God for all sin.
The New Testament Record Testifies That Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
1 Corinthians 5:7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
In the prophecy of the Passover Lamb, there is a requirement to take action personally. Each person must individually partake of the Lamb themselves. When we get to the New Testament, we find that in the fulfillment of Jesus as the Passover Lamb who removes our sin, we must personally partake of Him freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion but with heartfelt forethought.
Jesus said that we must abide in Him until the end, if we truly want to be saved:
Matthew 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
Jesus came to earth for the sole purpose of fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah, as He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter. We should never forget that Jesus was slaughtered for us. The punishment that He endured, the agony and pain that He felt, was intended for us. Jesus threw Himself in front of the approaching judgment and bore the full force of God’s wrath.
He did this as our precious Lamb of God who takes away all the sins of the world…
 Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, Following Jesus, Living For Jesus, Salvation through Jesus, The failure of religion
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