Author: Craig Hardinger
For I delivered to you as of first importance…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… -1 Corinthians 15:3,4
Christians are a stubborn people. Not exactly fake news to pretty much everyone. There is a dogmatic quality to the Christian faith that makes us look unfriendly, maybe even conceited to the non-Christian world. This is due in large part to our uncompromising conviction that Jesus is physically alive after physically dying. Feel bad as we may for how we are perceived, there are just some things that are non-negotiable in the Christian faith. And as we all know, we live in a culture where certainty about anything is deemed the unforgivable sin.
For example: The Christians I know (myself included) refuse to be lumped in with the other religious belief systems in the world. In fact, most of us would go so far as to say that Christianity isn’t a religion at all. Such isolated conviction no doubt feeds the perception mentioned above.
So why is that? Why the claims of exclusivity?
The reason that Christianity is so distinct from other belief systems doesn’t really have anything to do with the teachings of Jesus – or even the death of Jesus. That may be a shocker to you, but it’s true. The founders of the major world religions, Buddha, Mohammed, and Moses, all emphasized moralistic teaching, bid their followers to adhere to that teaching, and then died. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The followers of those religions have no problem with their founders dying. What makes Christianity so different has to do with a very simple moment in time – whether that moment was a minute or a nanosecond – what happened had never happened before and has never happened since. Someone rose from the dead, never to die again.
Yep! There it is!
Because of that moment in time - the moment when Jesus rose from the grave - everything changed. Everything! History changed. Lives changed. The world changed. Governments changed. Sunday changed. Faith changed. Satan changed. Guilt and shame changed. Homes changed. Relationships changed. The look of sin changed - all because of a single moment when someone dead suddenly wasn’t anymore.
That is why being a Christian is so different from other belief systems. To be a Christian means placing faith and trust, not in the teachings of Jesus – but in the actions of Jesus – his death and resurrection. It is the stubborn conviction that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave that then compels us to follow his teaching.
Can that kind of conviction make Christians look off-putting and a tad overly confident? I suppose. Like all people who are sure about the truth of something, we can, no doubt, look overbearing and arrogant.
Maybe, just maybe, that’s not it at all. Maybe we’re just stubborn.
Like our good friend Paul said:
But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. -2 Timothy 1:12