38. Doctrine

The faith that Jesus brought to Earth is distinct from any other religion. It is a religion of the heart. It is based on what you receive, not what you believe. The presence and power of God in your life come because of who you know and not because of what you know. There are no works - rituals and liturgies - that brought God to you and into your heart. He came because you wanted him there. The transaction was based totally on a common agreement between you and God.

It is wonderful that you don't have to "buy" God's grace by what you do or do not do - good, bad, or indifferent. You simply asked God to take over your life and he agreed to do so. He didn't ask about your race, sex, age, education, religious ideas, or past life. All he asked was for your permission to come into your life and be your God. You accepted his request. He came in, and you were born again. Now you love him because he first loved you (1 John 4:19).

This is why Jesus' religion is the one true religion. For the first and only time in world history, he taught about, and opened a way to God that is available to everyone. It is effective for everyone, therefore it is a universal faith. No other religion has this simple door to God. None understand it. All organized religions insist you must do certain acts (works) to get into the divine door and stay in God's favor.

You met God face-to-face by his gift of free grace, only because you wanted to meet him. You asked him to come to you and run your life. You may be tempted to review his gift and imagine that some particular thought you had, or act you did, caused God's grace to fall on you. To add on any condition beyond simply asking is called heresy. "Add-ons" are invented doctrines - side roads - that are spiritual traps. Add-ons can separate you from God and dry up your childlike blind trust. Add-ons deny God's free grace. In the past, disputes over worthless add-ons have caused religious persecutions and wars. In our time, they stress and divide people of faith. Avoid them to keep your blind trust and childlike faith.

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