He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
—2 Corinthians 5:21

Most world religions agree that mankind is riddled with destructive desires that lead us away from experiencing happiness in this life or in the afterlife. However, all the major world religions, except for Christianity, say the solution to man’s dilemma begins with man. For Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, meditation allows man to conquer those destructive desires. Islam and Judaism both teach human effort to satisfy their deity’s requirements.

The impossibility of fulfilling the requirements each religion demands has led many followers to give up on complete obedience to their religions’ standards. Reformed Jews and Muslims select laws and rituals they think are reasonable and discard the rest. Perhaps they are hoping that God grades on a curve.

Like many other religions, Christianity also teaches that mankind’s problem is internal. But Christianity’s diagnosis is much more serious than other religions teach. At the root of mankind’s problem is our rebellion against our Creator. The Bible labels our innate hatred of God as “sin.” Because mankind is infected with this spiritual virus, we are incapable of keeping all or even most of God’s requirements. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The Bible has some good news and bad news when it comes to our eternal destiny. The good news is that God utilizes a “pass/fail” system when judging us. But the bad news is that we have to keep all of God’s requirements. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). The penalty for even one sin is eternal separation from God.

Our natural reaction to such a demand is, “No one can measure up to that standard!” Exactly. We have all failed and deserve God’s retribution. But God did for us what we could have never done. He endured the punishment we deserve for our transgressions so that we might experience an eternity in heaven with Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Unlike every other religion in the world, Christianity does not require that we earn God’s favor in exchange for His forgiveness but provides an answer to our greatest dilemma: “How can a man be in the right before God?” (Job 9:2). Every other religion answers that question with “work.” Only Christianity answers “grace.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Know Christianity Is the Right Religion?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.