Why are Christians Different? —Discover the Difference!

Before I came to China, I worked at our sending church for several years. During my time there I taught a course on Personal Evangelism and helped develop a tract for the church to use. I wrote the tract and then it was revised and improved by those I was working with. It has morphed over the years and different churches have used it and adapted it for use in their church.

I recently updated the text and wanted to share it with anyone who is interested in using it.


 

Why are Christians Different? —Discover the Difference!

What makes Christians different? It is this, through the Bible, we learned the message of Jesus to imperfect, rebellious people and it graciously, radically and completely changed our lives. I want to give you a brief summary of this life-changing message.

First, I need to ask you a question, do you consider yourself to be a good person? Most people do. But what does it mean to be “good?” The Bible says that our Creator God is good and that one of His standards for defining “good” is His law, the Ten Commandments. So, let’s look at part of God’s Law from Exodus 20:1-17 with a tender conscience and ask yourself if you have obeyed the following:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Have you always loved God above all else?
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Have you made a god in your mind that you’re more comfortable with, a god to suit yourself?
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain. Have you ever used God’s Holy Name without the respect that it deserves?
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill. God considers hatred to be equal with murder—Matthew 5:21-22.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Includes looking upon someone with lust, and sex before marriage—Matthew 5:27-28.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. The value of the item is irrelevant.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Have you lied even once?
  10. Thou shalt not covet. Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to others?

Have you obeyed all of these or were there some that you disobeyed? If there were some that you disobeyed, the Bibles say you are not “good” according to God’s standard. It actually tells us that “there is none that doeth good…for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”—Romans 3:12-23. It becomes evident that we have lived in rebellion against God when we should be living in thankful submission to Him—the One who gave us life.

Those who aren’t “good,” the Bible calls sinners, because they have committed sin, i.e. broke God’s laws. With any wrongdoing or rebellion, there is a consequence. The Bible says that, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”—Hebrews 9:27. One day we will die and this is a result of sin. After death, we will be judged and if we aren’t “good,” meaning we are sinners, we will be eternally separated from God, because He “…will by no means clear the guilty”—Exodus 34:7.

This is where the life-changing message comes in, God made a way for us to be made “good!” The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16. It also says, “But God commendeth {showed} his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8. This means that even though we were rebelling against Him, He chose to love us anyway!

God showed His love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save imperfect, bad and sinful people like us. Jesus was perfectly good or sinless—He never disobeyed God’s laws. He didn’t have to die, but He loved us so much that He willingly died on the cross to pay the price for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness {goodness} of God in him.”

Jesus died in our place, fulfilling the consequence of our sin with His life. Then something radical happened, three days later He arose from the dead! He defeated sin, death and everything bad. He proved that all He had claimed was true and today He lives as the Lord of lords!

Now God offers to save us out of our badness or sin through forgiving all our wrongdoing and He offers it as a free gift! “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”—Romans 6:23. We can’t earn this gift, because we aren’t “good.” What we have earned is not God’s gift of salvation, but death. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”—Ephesians 2:8-9.

Not only does He offer to forgive and take our sins away, but also offers to give us His “goodness” in exchange—2 Corinthians 5:21. With this “goodness,” God sees us as “good” and grants us eternal life. We will be saved from being eternally separated from God and will have a joyful and loving relationship with Him for all eternity.

It is important to understand this is God calling us unto Himself. Through our defiance we don’t recognize His rightful position in our lives, but this life-changing message is calling us to stop living in opposition, give up, trust and live for Him—the One who gave His life to save us!

What must a person do to receive this good gift? The Bible says, “…repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”—Acts 20:21. You must repent and put your faith in Jesus.

Repentance is renouncing your former way of life (sin, pride, self-righteousness, etc.) and turning to a new way of life that is only found in the Lord Jesus. This is a change of mind, heart, and life based on the understanding of truth.

Faith is trusting in Jesus to save you. You trust that Jesus’ death and resurrection is enough to forgive your sins. This is more than intellectual assent of the facts about Jesus, but you are basing your salvation on them.

If you are ready to do that, repent and put your faith in Jesus, the Bible says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”—Romans 10:9. This means you believe Jesus Christ alone is Lord and the only way to be forgiven of your badness and receive Jesus’ goodness is through faith in Him.

If everything you read describes you and you want to receive this good gift, through repentance and faith, confess to God that you have realized you’re not as good as you thought you were, your wrong actions and thoughts were actually sins against Him and you have lived in rebellion to Him. The consequence for this is eternal separation from Him, but you heard that He will forgive all your sins and give you Jesus’ goodness. Therefore, today you give up and turn away from all your wrongdoings and turn to Jesus, putting your trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Today, you believe Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and is the only way for you to be saved. Today you are trusting in God to forgive you and grant you His gift of eternal life.

Remember, it is not about saying the exact words that brings about the forgiveness of sins, but it is truly repenting and believing in what the words of truth contain.

This is what makes Christians different. The love of God invaded our imperfect lives and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, He saved us from our sin and made us “good.” Now Jesus is our Lord and, with God’s help, we live daily to glorify Him!

I pray that you will discover the difference!

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