Dr. John Oswalt
Wesley Biblical Seminary President
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
In every great religion, there is a word that sums up what that religion is about. The classic is Islam. The Arabic word “islam” means submit, submit to Allah. Submit or be crushed. For Buddhism, the word is “deny.” Deny the reality of pain, deny your own reality. What about Christianity? It is Grace! Grace, Grace. Our coming into a right relationship with God is none of our work, it is all of His grace. Thank God. To find God is not to climb up a greased slide toward Heaven, slipping back, crawling forward. To find God is to allow his arms to enfold us and lift us to His bosom. Grace.
There is no other world religion that teaches salvation by grace. Every other one teaches that we must make ourselves acceptable to God by some effort on our part. But not Christianity. All we have to do is receive the promise of God that Christ has died to deliver us from the consequences of sin and has risen again to deliver us from the power of sin.
Here is the final feature that distinguishes Christianity from all the rest. Our Founder is alive! Muhammad is dead, Buddha is dead, Confucius is dead, but Jesus Christ is alive! The miracle of Christianity is that it is not a doctrinal system. The miracle of Christianity is the miracle of the exchanged life. Christ in you. Here is the pinnacle of grace. God gives us his very life in Jesus.