The distinctions about the Christian Faith in this post will focus on Scriptures written by the apostle John:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
In The Compact Guide to World Religions, Dean Halverson used the above Scripture reference to point out six notable points that set Christianity apart from Judaism, Islam, and all other world religions. (1) Jesus Lived in History (2) God Himself Became Flesh (3) Humanity is Spiritually Dead (4) God is Absolutely Holy (5) Jesus Conquered Death (6) Salvation is a Free Gift.” [i]
In this post, our investigation will focus on the first two of these distinctions.
- Jesus Lived in History – We hear phrases such as “among us” and “into the world” repeatedly throughout Scripture. Referencing the God-man, Jesus Christ, the biblical writers aren’t speculating. Instead, they are telling and retelling the story of Jesus, not as a myth. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are historical facts.
- God Himself Became Flesh – When John says, “one and only,” he isn’t talking about Jesus in a secret or mysterious way. He is showing us that although we all are sons and daughters of God, Jesus, as the “one and only” Son is God’s Son in a unique way. Jesus is unprecedented, unparalleled, and uncommon. He is exceptional, extraordinary, and without equal — one of a kind.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
More important, as we ponder the above Scripture, we realize that Jesus isn’t just a presentation of God, or typical of God. No, the God-man Jesus is the incarnation of God, meaning that God became a man, in the flesh, through his one and only Son, Jesus Christ.
[i] Dean C. Halverson, “World Religions Overview” in The Compact Guide to World Religions, ed. Dean C. Halverson (Minneapolis, MN:, Bethany House Publishers, 1996), 26-28.