Category: (2) What makes Christianity unique?


To understand why Christianity is a “bloody religion,” we must go back to God’s declarations regarding blood in the Old Testament: “the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11, 14). Here God tells us that life and blood are essentially one and the same. The blood carries life-sustaining nutrients to all parts of the body. It represents the essence of life. In contrast, the shedding of blood represents the shedding of life, i.e. death.

Blood is also used in the Bible to represent spiritual life. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God and eating fruit of the forbidden tree, they experienced spiritual death immediately, and physical death years later. God’s warning, “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17) was fulfilled. Their blood—their lives—were now tainted by sin. In His gracious plan, however, God provided a “way out” of their dilemma by declaring that sacrifices of blood, first the blood of animals and finally the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ), would be sufficient to cover the sin of fallen mankind and restore us to spiritual life. He instituted the sacrificial system, beginning with the animals. He himself killed to provide the first garments, thereby “covering” the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). All the Old Testament sacrifices which followed from then on were temporary ones, needing to be repeated over and over. These continual sacrifices were a foreshadowing of the one true and final sacrifice, Christ, whose blood shed on the cross would pay the penalty of sin forever. His death made any further bloodshed unnecessary (Hebrews 10:1-10).

As far as Christianity being a bloody religion, it is. But it is uniquely a bloody religion. Contrary to bloodless religions, it takes sin seriously, indicating that God takes sin seriously and gives a death penalty for it. Sin is not a small matter. It is the simple sin of pride that turned Lucifer into a demon. It was the simple sin of jealousy that caused Cain to slay Abel, etc. And in Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, they believed the deceiver over a good and loving God, choosing to rebel against His love and denying the goodness of His character. Christianity is a bloody religion because it views sin as a holy God views it—seriously.

Also, because God is just, sin requires a penalty. God cannot merely forgive in mercy until the demands of justice have been met. Thus the need for a sacrifice before forgiveness is possible. The shedding of the blood of animals, as Hebrews points out, could only “cover” sin for a time (Hebrews 10:4) until the intended and sufficient sacrifice was made in Christ’s atoning death. Thus, Christianity is different from other bloody religions in that it alone provides a sufficient sacrifice to take care of the sin problem.

Last, although Christianity presents a bloody sacrifice in these regards, it is the only religion that is bloodless in the end. The opposite of death is life. In Jesus’ death, He brought life as is shown in so many verses. And in trusting Christ and His atoning sacrifice for one’s sins, one is saved from death and has passed into life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14). In Him is life. All other paths lead to death (Acts 4:16; John 14:6).

As a background, please read our article on Christian reconstructionism, which is closely related to “dominion theology” and “theonomy.” This line of theological interpretation states that biblical Christianity will rule all areas of society, personal and corporate, and that the goal of Christians is to help create a worldwide kingdom patterned after the Mosaic Law. Those that hold these views believe that Christ will not return to earth until such a kingdom has been established, a view that is completely antithetical to the Bible’s teaching on the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The principal goal, then, of dominion theology and Christian reconstructionism is political and religious domination of the world through the implementation of the moral laws, and subsequent punishments, of the Old Testament (the sacrificial and ceremonial laws having been fulfilled in the New Testament). This is not a government system ruled by the church, but rather a government conformed to the Law of God.

God has never called Christians to establish a physical kingdom ruled by His laws, commands, and statutes. The mission of Christians is to share the gospel of salvation with the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). When people are saved, the Holy Spirit will begin the work in them of changing their lives into conformity with God’s Word (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). It is only when a society or culture is populated with born-again Christians that the society is changed, one heart and one life at a time. That is why Christ put an end to the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:24-26; Ephesians 2:15) and instead instituted the law of Christ (Matthew 22:37-40; Galatians 6:2). The law of love and grace is what is needed in the hearts of men who, once their hearts are changed, can corporately effect change in their society.

Attempts to change societies and cultures from without will always fail. Changing people on the inside is God’s work through His Holy Spirit, and therefore no one can be forced into the kingdom. God is more interested in saving people’s souls than He is in forcing people to obey His laws. If an unsaved person if forced to obey God’s law, he would be doing it out of fear and obligation. God wants a person to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) and then to obey His commands out of reverence and love (1 John 5:3). So the answer to the question is no. God has not called us to enforce His commands on an unredeemed world. Rather, he has called us to proclaim the message of salvation—the redeeming power and life-transforming message of Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 5:8).

Is Christianity really unique, or is it just one of many roads on the path to Truth? Is Christianity truly unique among the many religions around the world? If it is, what makes it so? Unique among all religions, Christianity makes several claims that others do not. First, all other religions exhort man to reach up to God and grasp hold of Him through their own efforts. Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down to man. Second, other religions are systems of do’s and don’ts to appease God; whereas Christianity is a relationship with God. Third, Christianity looks to the Bible as the singular source of Truth. Finally, Christianity is based upon truly the most amazing event in all of human history—the resurrection.

As to the first issue, other forms of religion subscribe to a system of works—those we should do and those we should avoid—which will make us “good enough” to please God and merit His favor. Christianity, on the other hand, is based on the biblical principle that we can never be good enough to be in the presence of a perfect, holy God. The Mosaic Law was given to mankind to prove to us that we can’t keep it. Galatians 3 describes the purpose of the Law. It is a “tutor” or “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ because “…by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). The impossibility of keeping the Law is revealed in what Jesus called the “first and greatest commandment” in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This would mean loving God with every fiber of our being 24/7, with never a thought for ourselves, an impossible task for anyone. But rather than condemning us as law-breakers and leaving it at that, God provided a substitute—Jesus Christ—who obeyed the Law perfectly for us. By faith in Him and accepting His work on our behalf, we are justified and made righteous. Here is the crucial difference between Christianity and all other religions.

As to the second point, Christianity is not a religious system, but a relationship with God, one that He initiated and maintains. Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from Him (Romans 3:23, 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked this earth, fully God, and yet fully man (Philippians 2:6-11), and died on the cross to restore the relationship that was broken by sin. After His death on the cross, Christ was buried, He rose again, and now lives at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers forever (Hebrews 7:25). The intimacy of this relationship is revealed in two poignant pictures. Now no longer seen as law-breakers, we have been adopted into God’s own family as His children (Ephesians 1:5). Even more intimately, believers are the very “body of Christ” of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23), having been purchased by His blood (Hebrews 9:12). No other religion makes assertions that even begin to approximate this incredible truth.

Another thing that makes Christianity unique is its source of information. All religions have some sort of basis of information that outlines its beliefs and practices, but none have one source of information that makes the claims Christianity does about the Bible—it is the written Word of God, and it is infallible and inerrant and all that is necessary for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired—literally “God-breathed”—Word of God and that its teaching is the final authority (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Though there are other religions that use prophecy, none are 100% accurate, as are those in the Bible, and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds.

Perhaps the most defining principle of Christianity that makes it truly unique in every way and provides its fundamental basis is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important, for without it, Christianity does not exist, and our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). It was Jesus’ resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh. No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then rose three days later to appear to many people. The resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind. Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, died and rose from the dead, and claimed that He alone is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.