A volunteer disc jockey on an indie station I listen to once said, “There won’t be any peace until all the religions of the world are one.” That’s a nice, inclusive expression of our longing for peace, love, and unity. However. . .
When we look to Jesus, there’s one undeniable aspect of His teachings that we can have a hard time grasping. Grace! As U2 front man Bono told journalist Michka Assayas: “Grace defies reason and logic.” But why do we need grace? We need it because Jesus made some exclusive claims.
Religion can be an attempt to impress or to placate a higher power with the “fact” that we really aren’t so bad. Human history indicates otherwise. That’s why Jesus is so vital to all of us. When He came to earth, He was “full of grace and truth,” as John phrased it (John 1:14 niv). And He made some pretty bold claims about Himself. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He said. “No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). That’s an exclusive claim, yet it’s drenched in hope and love.
“Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed,” said Bono. His statement is only partly true. Love doesn’t eliminate all the consequences. (I can easily recall the consequences of my own sinful choices.) But the forgiveness of Jesus restores our relationship with God. That’s grace! That’s love!
The platitude that “it doesn’t matter how you come to God” is worse than a pleasant lie; it’s damning. It will keep us lost and separated from God. “The law [which damns us] was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). That isn’t arrogant or exclusive. It’s grace and truth.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 4:5-22
There will be a day when we all agree. Romans 14:11 and Isaiah 45:23 tell us all about it.
What does God’s grace mean to you? How might you tell others about the exclusive claims of Jesus?