Help people understand that salvation is not by works, but by grace. The most common view of salvation in society today is that most people get into heaven because they try to live morally good lives, and only a few people – those who are most evil – go to hell. However, the reality is that God is perfectly holy, so people can’t be in presence if they sin even just a tiny bit. People must be perfectly holy to live with a perfectly holy God in heaven, and that’s impossible for fallen human beings to achieve on their own, no matter how hard they may try. Only Christianity offers a workable solution to the sin problem. While other world religions tell people to try to earn their way to heaven – which is impossible for imperfect people to do – Christianity shows people that God has come to Earth from heaven to connect with them through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death for their sin. Thanks to Jesus, people don’t have to earn salvation; they can simply accept it as a gift from God by placing their trust in Him and experiencing grace. This takes enormous pressure off of people, freeing them to respond to God’s love for them in confidence.

Help people understand humanity’s value and dignity. While society often says that people don’t really matter unless they’re rich, attractive, or famous, Christianity says that all people are equally valuable because God has made them in His image. The concept of people as divine image-bearers gives people hope because it lets them know that they’re worthy of respect and love, no matter what their circumstances may be. This idea also shows that life is sacred, showing people the need to protect the vulnerable from abortion and euthanasia.

Help people understand the good in suffering. Christianity lets people know that their suffering in this fallen world isn’t in vain. God cares about the pain they’re experiencing and will fulfill good purposes through their suffering when they choose to trust Him. This knowledge gives people hope for their own lives and motivates them to help others who are suffering, as God leads them. Christians have done more to help suffering people throughout history than followers of any other religion have done.

 

Kenneth Richard Samples is a senior research scholar with Reasons to Believe, the premier science-religion think tank. An adjunct instructor of apologetics at Biola University, Samples is the author of Without a Doubt and A World of Difference. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children. Visit the website for Reasons to Believe at: http://www.reasons.org/.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer

Publication date: June 15, 2012