Just One Word
London, circa 1940.
The room was crowded—full of sharp minds and tweed coats. Some men mumbled. Some scratched their heads in silence. No one could think of an answer.
Moments before, someone had inquired of Christianity, “What’s unique about it? Is it any different than other religions?” They were men from around the world, gathered for a British conference on comparative religions.
Incarnation? No, other religions have Gods that have become human.
Resurrection? No, this too is a teaching of other religions.
From the back of the room emerged a young scholar. He wore rounded glasses. His hair was balding. He carried a half-lit pipe in the fold of his hand.
“Oh, that’s quite easy,” he said. His voice was soft, strong—it ceased any mumbling. All were eager for what he would say next.
This young scholar was C.S. Lewis.
What Would You Say?
If someone asked you, “What makes Christianity different?” how would you answer? I’d encourage you to answer the same way C.S. Lewis did: Grace.
The grace of Christianity is unlike the grace of any other religion. Here’s how other religions work:
Faith in God and works for God produces grace from God.
That’s why Hindus are enslaved to a false notion of karma—they believe they must do good in order to obtain blessings.
That’s why Muslims wash their hands and feet and put on clean clothes before they pray—they believe they have to clean themselves up before entering into God’s presence.
That’s why Mormons believe in three separate divisions of heaven—they believe that one deserves a higher eternal rank if he earns it during his life on Earth.
Read these words from a Muslim writer:
“Allah is the All-Merciful One, He is Mercy. He is compassionate, All-Forgiving, but only for those who deserve it.” — Sheikh Yusuf Estes (emphasis added)
Only for those who deserve it? Think about that for a second. It’s self-refuting and nonsensical. Grace, by nature, is undeserving. That’s what makes it grace. If it’s up to us to “deserve” grace, it’s no longer grace at all!
Here’s how Christianity works:
Grace from God produces faith in God and works for God.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
— Ephesians 2:8-9
“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
— Romans 5:8
“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
— Romans 11:5-6
Enjoy God’s Grace For You
And so, here is my simple encouragement for you today. Be a lover of grace. Bathe yourself in it. Drink it in. Enjoy and treasure it.
The grace of God is a massive waterfall flooding swiftly and thundering loudly. Day after day, it torrents over you unrelentingly—even when your faith in God feels week or your works for God feel small. Your fickleness is simply no match for God’s grace.
C.S. Lewis only needed one word to sum up the message of Christianity. Don’t overthink it. God is absolutely crazy about you, and He’s freely given you unmerited grace.
“From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” — John 1:16