The Uniqueness of Pure Christianity
By Gary Amirault
Recently, I had a conversation with a man who had just graduated from college. He did not go to college to learn skills which would advance him in his career. He was retired. He went just to learn.
He studied the philosophies, sociology, ancient civilizations, and history. It appeared to me that he was trying to come to grips with life. While talking with him, I felt he was trying to formulate a meaning to life.
When we got on the subject of religion, he hesitantly called himself a Christian, but not one of those in an organized sense. He felt many people from different religions were often much more loving than Christians. Therefore, there were different paths to God. He just happened to be a Christian.
Of course many people of the Christian persuasion would immediately become alarmed at such a philosophy expressed by this man. They (and I as well), would remind this individual of Jesus' own words, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but through Me."
Scriptures such as the following ones, as well as countless others, put Christianity is a class by itself. "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) "Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12, NIV) "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Colossians 1:16-20, NIV)
No, clearly the Christian Scriptures do not leave room for other religions holding an equal status with Christianity. Christianity demands a uniqueness which it will not share with any other religions, regardless of how righteous their systems appear to be.
It even refutes the mythical Judeo-Christian ethics teachings which have crept into many denominations that actually make the gospel of none effect. The Book of Hebrews makes it abundantly clear that in Christianity is a New Temple, a New Priesthood, an entirely new way which the Jewish system was only a type and shadow of. Mixing Moses with Jesus makes grace of none effect. It is sad but true, virtually all denominations of christendom have either abandoned "grace through faith, a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast," or have mixed it with works to such a degree that these words have become nothing more than memorized slogans, a show of religion, but without power.
I just mentioned the word christendom, with a little "C." I have done this to separate the various sects who have used the name of Jesus to start religions which I believe are not "Pure Christianity." Just because the Bible and the name of Jesus is used in a particular denomination, does not qualify it for teaching the message of Christ. The Jews had the Bible and Moses and yet did not do the things Moses commanded. Neither do the sects of christendom do the things Jesus said to do.
The great apostle to the nations, Paul, when discovering the Corinthian church was dividing themselves into different "denominations" said, "Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ,' Is Christ divided?'"
Yes, Paul, He is divided into about 22,000 different denominations around the world. But in recent years, there appears to be a movement to bring Him back together again. It began with the ecumenical movement and now seems to have received a great thrust through the evangelical leaders beginning to talk about being united with the Roman Catholic church to display unity to the world before the year 2000. But this mass exodus is not bringing non-Catholic christendom into unity with Christ, but bringing Protestants back to a message of "Salvation through works." This movement is just manifesting what has been in the Protestant denominations for quite some time and that is this: Salvation as an unearned gift from God has been abandoned for a message of works. "Grace through faith" have become empty words. "Christ crucified" is no longer the "finished work," it has been mixed with works of the flesh even in the most grace oriented denominations. That is why it has become so easy for the Roman Catholic priesthood to lure Protestants back into its fold. Christendom is nothing more than a tower of the mighty city Babylon. I do not hesitate to include all Protestant, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Charismatic denominations, and sects such as the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons under that same name.
Religion is nothing more than man's feeble attempts to build a bridge to God through rituals, creeds, articles of faith, concepts, dogmas, regulations and thousands of other works of the hands of man and his mind. All of these require an effort from man which he believes will ultimately bring him to godhood, heaven, or the supernatural. It is man's work and in this work there will never be the "rest" found only in Pure Christianity.
Pure Christianity is an absolute cessation of man's attempt to be justified by God. Pure Christianity declared Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith. We start with faith. Yet it is not our faith. Even it is a work of Jesus Christ. "No one can come to the Father unless the Father draws him". (John 6:44) Once the Father draws, it is the faith of Christ that responds and it will responds according to God's will, not according to man's will. A True Christian is not born again from his own will by "deciding" to follow Jesus. He is not "born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13)
A True Christian conversion patterns itself after Paul's conversion. Here is how Paul phrases it: "For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Timothy 1:16) Here we have the "chiefest of sinners," a title Paul ascribes to himself under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He is the pattern of those to follow who will believe on Jesus Christ. Perhaps it would behoove us to look at the pattern of Paul's conversation to discover how one becomes a Christian. It will be abundantly clear to anyone who has just a little bit of an open mind to see that Paul did not "decide" to follow Jesus. He was "told" what he would suffer for Christ's sake. Paul became a bond-slave whose chains were the very love of Christ Himself.
A person who believes he has decided to "follow" Jesus apart from the understanding that it is only the grace of God which allows him to even begin that walk, is a person who is self-deceived and still working the works of religion which produces death.
True Christian recognizes that Christ is the end of the Law of Moses. True Christianity declares that our righteousness has been imputed to us, not based upon our works, but the work of the cross by Christ. True Christianity declares Christians crucified with Christ, and hid in Him. "I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." (Galatians 1:20-21) Those who have been crucified are dead! How can a dead man claim "deciding" to follow anything? How can a dead man boast in the works they do to stay saved? How can they possibly believe they can lose their salvation if, in fact, they are no longer considered alive by God? Dead men should not have anything to boast about which is proof that most people who live in christendom are not really True Christians because they wouldn't be boasting of their works of righteousness if they were. True Christians give all the glory to Jesus Christ. They realize they have been saved by grace through the faith of Jesus Christ and they are kept through His faith. The work in them will be completed by Christ, not by themselves. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Remember? "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2)
True Christians realize their eternal destination was foreordained before the earth was formed: "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:27-39)
Now there is enough in the above passage of Scripture to chew on for several days. I won't elaborate on what should be obvious to anyone who has the ability to think. He who has been called, will be glorified; it is God's work, not man's work and nothing can prevent it from happening because the intercession of our high priest, Jesus Christ will bring it to completion. Those who teach conditional salvation, which is the great majority of christendom, are not teaching True Christian doctrine.
Once a True Christian clearly sees that their eternal blessings are all gifts of love from a Father Who loves them, that they did nothing to earn these things, then they realize they are no better than anyone on the face of this earth. They realize their self-righteousness is as filthy rags. Because the love of Christ is powerful within them, they lose their self-centeredness and therefore desire the same blessings for all mankind. When this happens the religious scales fall from their eyes and can finally see on almost every page of the Bible what they couldn't see while trapped in christendom: "For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men , the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all , to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:3-6, KJV)
A True Christian at this point will conform his will, desire, or wants to the will of the Father. When we pray according to His will, we will have what we pray for. What is God's will or desire? That all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. A True Christian will then embark upon the wonderful work prepared from the foundation of the world-to set all creation free, which is the work of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19-21)