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Islam is the second-most popular religion in the world (behind Christianity) with nearly 2 billion adherents. It may not look like it here in the United States, where more than 70% of Americans would describe themselves as Christians, but it's a growing faith in many continents outside of North America.
I've always been interested in what makes Christianity different.
What is unique about Jesus?
What does the Gospel offer that isn't available anywhere else?
If all roads don't actually lead to God, how does Christ stand out against every other option?
Recently, I saw that today was the start of the Islamic New Year—a time of prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage—and those questions came flooding back.
If you're a Muslim and you're reading this... welcome!
You and I are created in the same image of the same God.
You and I are loved by the same God.
You and I have fallen short of the same God.
And you and I have the same access through the same Savior.
But our perspectives are different...
You and I may be members of the two largest religions in the world, but there are a lot of differences between us.
And while it would take an eternity to hash all of them out, I think I can boil it all down in one word:
Grace alone is the most fundamental difference in our understanding of God... and quite frankly, what separates Christianity from every other option on the market.
Incarnation? The Greeks had that.
Resurrection? The Egyptians had that.
Heaven? Everyone had that.
But grace. That's the difference. That's the key. Only the Gospel of Jesus would dare to say that God's love comes free of charge and no strings attached.
The Muslim code of law? My understanding is that's a way to earn the approval of God.
Jesus? His love is unconditional.
In fact, Jesus (and His followers!) take great pains to stress that it's impossible to earn love and forgiveness from God. Think about it... the sun and rain and plagues and disasters and blessings of God fall on the good and bad alike.
So... whether you're a Muslim reading this blog, or a Christian with a desire to go overseas where you will undoubtedly live among a population that is not 70% Christian, or you're a questioning skeptic—remember this:
You can approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help in your time of need (Hebrews 4:16)
Grace is what makes Christianity unique among the religions of the world. It's free. It's a gift. And it's available to anyone and everyone.