One teaching that you hear from some christians is that there is no grace in any other religion than christianity. According to such people, in other religions you have to pay for your sins, whereas in christianity, there is grace: when you do the sin, if you believe in Jesus, then God pays.
But understand that the notion of a person sinning and God paying for that sin in this sense is not grace: that’s called injustice and wickedness.
As I’ve said elsewhere, it’s based on the mistake of thinking that sinning against God is like getting a fine, and all that is needed to satisfy it is for someone, anyone – not necessarily the person who sinned – to pay. This is an unbiblical notion, nothing to do with the Jewish Bible.
The Jewish Bible is direct and clear. The soul that sins, it shall die! The father shall not die for the son or the son for the father. The righteousness of the righteous is his alone and the wickedness of the wicked person belongs to that wicked person. It speaks of personal responsibility. Not only is it that if you do the crime, you do the time, but also, that ultimately a person is responsible for his or her own closeness to God’s truth, his or her own moral actions. He cannot rely on the righteousness of a friend to carry him through. He cannot rely of any righteous person to “pay for his crimes” but both because scripture say so, but also because it is proper sense that punishment is not just meant to cause loss to a person but also to fix them, to cause them to correct their actions, heart, and mind. Having someone else pay for the crime is a cheap and empty gesture because it is always up to the “sinner” to correct his own ways for there to be a proper rectification and justice.
Somebody will say that we could never repay the debt that we created through sin. It’s like God asking for 100 dollars and we only have 1 dollar. A song would say that “99 and a half won’t do!” But the problem is with the premise: it is false. God didn’t ask us for what we couldn’t afford. The notion that he does such a thing is wicked and blasphemous and it is absolutely absent from the scripture. A person always has a choice. God sets before them life and good, and death and evil, life if a person obeys and death if they refuse. That’s from Deuteronomy 30 and is more or less repeated in Isaiah 1, where it is said “Come please, and let us argue out the issue: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white like snow; and if they are reddened like crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and you listen, you shall eat the good of the land. And if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword …” God gives an attainable choice. It is through his Torah that we get the teaching that says the commandment isn’t beyond a person, but it is near to them so that they can do it. God always asks a person for what is possible, not for what is out of their reach.
But christianity tells us different. Not only did God demand from humanity, inflexibly with no mercy, what humanity did not have the capacity to give, condemning them to eternal death for the inevitable failure, but he also paid himself to make himself happy so now everyone can be happy … if they accept that he paid himself. That is not the story of grace. That is a story of cruelty and injustice! But christians attempt to redefine what anyone else would call a travesty, a mutilation of justice and kindness, christians try to redefine it as grace. But again, this isn’t grace.
So let’s be clear. Christianity doesn’t teach grace. It teaches the undermining of justice, escape from responsibility, and an abject ignorance of God’s Torah and the purpose of sin and repentance.