ren't all religions the same? Yes, they are! In fact, all are man-made. We know this is true because they all say essentially the same thing: namely, that you can get to Heaven or reach a higher-plane of existence or consciousness by your own efforts. It typically means one or more of the following activities: attendance or membership in a place of worship, prayers, penance, reading a spiritual book, a spiritual pilgrimmage, an act of self-inflicted suffering, community service, charitable giving, fasting, meditation, perpetual poverty, isolation, special diets, reciting some kind of creed, etc.
Genuine Christianity is NOT A RELIGION! It stands far apart from man-made beliefs. It is the truth of God. It is not based upon the works of sinful mankind. Let's examine our Bible passage.
"By grace are ye saved" - The word "grace" means the unmerited favour of God towards completely undeserving and imperfect man. In other words, God has done ALL the work in fitting a person for Heaven.
"through faith; and that not of yourselves"Faith means believing or trusting that God has done something for you. Salvation is not based on some lifestyle you live, nor on some good deed you have done as in the list above. That's why it says "not of yourselves."
"it is the gift of God" - If someone gives you a gift, you obviously don't pay for it. It may have cost a lot of money, but it's free to you. All you do is accept it and thank the giver. Likewise, God has given mankind a costly, but free gift. It's costly to God because He sent His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die upon the cross to pay the price for your sins. But it's free to you because God loves you and wants you to be in Heaven after you die. All you have to do is repent (acknowledge that you are a guilty, Hell deserving sinner in God's sight) and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord, Romans 10:9-13.
The death of Christ upon Calvary's cross was the only way a holy God could righteously deal with sin and not punish the sinner. Out of love for your soul, He punished His only Son instead so you could be forgiven. Only a God of matchless grace could have conceived of such a wonderful plan of Salvation. It's so simple and available to all.
"not of works, lest any man should boast" - How sad it is that there are people trying to work their way to Heaven through their own efforts when God has done all the work. It must be truly insulting to God as men lift up their insignificant works to Heaven when over two-thousand years ago God lifted up between Heaven and earth upon the cross of shame His only begotten Son to suffer, bleed and die for guilty sinners. There will be no individuals in Heaven boasting that they got there based on their own merits. We sometimes sing:
There was no other good enoughAll sinners in Heaven will bow before the Lord Jesus rejoicing that He died upon the cross to purchase their redemption. Dear soul, will you be there? Repent and receive Christ as your Saviour, and you will be.
To pay the price for sin;
He [Christ] only could unlock the gate
Of Heaven, and let us in.