If we are in the last days, then, do not let anyone deceive you into believing a comforting or pleasing lie. Such is a sign of Satan, trying to appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). The Bible admonishes us to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). We should always test such teachings that we are confronted with using biblical truth and sound doctrine. I have studied various religions over the years and have compared their doctrines to Christianity to distinguish the real differences. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three basic tenets or questions that differentiate Christianity from the forest of religions or even Christian-based cults around the world. 1) Who do you say that Jesus is? 2) What is the method for salvation? 3) And what is your source of truth? These three questions will quickly differentiate between what Christians doctrinally believe and all other religions, even those slick Christian-like religions that assume our words while assigning different definitions to them.
1) For the Christian, Jesus is not a wayshower or merely a prophet or good teacher or enlightened one, etc. He is God manifested in the flesh (Emmanuel), He is the ONLY Son of God, and He is the Lamb of God given in one perfect sacrifice on the cross to cover the entirety of mankind’s sins. There are other titles, offices, and honors ascribed to Him, but I believe these are the three main ones. And His perfect sacrifice will only cover sin when we enter into a covenant relationship with God, accepting His sacrifice for our sins and allowing Him to enter our hearts, plant his Holy Spirit there as His seal of ownership, and begin His sanctifying work. We can become adopted into the family as His younger siblings once we accept His blood sacrifice for our sins and submit to His lordship of our lives (John 1:12), but we will never become gods as He is God. Those that reject the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus can expect an eternity of suffering in Hell according to our scripture.
2) Who Jesus is ties inextricably into the second question about the means or method of salvation. We cannot earn our way to salvation because we are stained with sin inside and out. All of our actions done before the covenant relationship with Jesus are unavoidably stained with our sin and cannot, therefore, be used to purchase our way into His favor. By extension, all actions that we perform on our own power while in sin will fall short of the mark, including the favored method of many people since the dawn of time, the accumulation of great knowledge and wisdom. Anything that we can do or reach will be no higher or greater than our decaying, temporal self and world. This is not nearly enough to bridge the tremendous gulf between us and God. It is not even enough to BEGIN to build toward that. In fact, we are not on a level playing field. We are instead deep under that field in a hole which we have dug, and we are continuing to dig until God intervenes in our lives. So, how could we possibly even begin to earn our way to God?