“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” (1 John 3:22).
The major religions of the world claim to teach about love, yet do not believe in a loving God who dispenses mercy and unconditional grace to undeserving people. Almost every religion other than Christianity centers on the performance of good works or the attainment of inner purity or self-awareness by means of good deeds or meditation. Thus most religions teach that the good works of men, the righteous acts human beings perform will make them righteous and holy and one with God, or with the universe or universal spirit. Christianity teaches that such a thing is impossible for all men are sinners and incapable of pleasing God on their own. No human is inherently righteous or holy. No human can perfectly perform good acts and deeds with consistently pure motives. At best even the most altruistic of human deeds is often performed with mixed motives.
God gives righteousness and holiness to those men and women who have faith in Him. And whom does God choose to grant His favor to? To those who are noble and do good things or appear righteous, religious, rich, or famous? No He grants His favor to sinners, to the weak, the despised, and the humble for only they realize their need for God. And why does He grant His favor to anyone at all? Because He loves us.
Jesus calls us to follow in His footsteps. He calls us to love Him by loving our brethren in thought, word and deeds. In Jesus, God has shown His love for all mankind. He gave Himself up for us. We ought to do the same for Him, not out of obligation, or guilt or the desire to be liked or to do enough good to make it to heaven, but out of thankfulness for all He has done for us.