The difference between Christianity and all other religions, or no religion, is summed up in a four word sentence (five without the contraction). The Gospel isn’t advice. The word gospel means “news that bring joy.” It’s seen in other ancient texts at pivotal moments in history, when a Caesar was crowned or a great battle won. Tim Keller puts it like this in King’s Cross.
The essence of other religions is advice; Christianity is essentially news. Other religions say, “This is what you have to do in order to connect with God forever; this is how you have to live in order to earn your way to God.” But the gospel says, “This is what has been done in history. This is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you.” Christianity is completely different. It’s joyful news.
But why is this significant? What makes news better than advice? More Tim Kellar…
How do you feel when you’re given good advice on how to live? Someone says, “Here’s the love you ought to have, or the integrity you ought to have,” and maybe they illustrate high moral standards by telling a story of some great hero. But when you hear it, how does it make you feel? Inspired, sure. But…Do you feel your burdens have fallen off? Do you feel as if something great has been done for you and you’re not a slave anymore? Of course you don’t. It weighs you down: This is how I have to live. It’s not a gospel. The gospel is that God connects to you not on the basis of what you’ve done (or haven’t done) but on the basis of what Jesus has done, in history, for you. And that makes it absolutely different from every other religion and philosophy.
Here’s a massively popular youtube video that sums up a lot of this stuff in a much more engaging way.
Religion says do, Jesus says done.