Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Truth Series - One Way

As ridiculous as this interview was, unfortunately the squirming and uncomfortableness of claiming this truth is real.

Is Jesus the only way to heaven? Is there only one way to having an eternal relationship with God?

It was explained to me once that our understanding of God is like a colony of blind men hearing an elephant approaching their village. Some think that what they hear is thunder, others feel the ground shake, so they think it is an earthquake. But they are quickly told that an elephant is being led into their midst. The blind men cautiously approach the elephant and touch it. Some feel the large, leathery ear and they think an elephant is like a flat, rough piece of material or curtain. Others feel the hard toenails and think an elephant is like a rock. Still others feel the trunk and think an elephant is snakelike. The point is that because they are blind, they cannot see the big picture.

Then I was told that this is what man's view of God is like. What we see and feel is only a small part of what He truly is. So people all over the world are given different glimpses of God through their own religious system and one day we'll see the big picture, which basically is that all religions and experiences are a part of God.


Well, to that I have to ask, What does the Bible say?

We all know that Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no man comes to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) And II Timothy 2:5 tells us that there is "one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men."

Basically, this is the story of the scriptures - God is righteous and holy, and sin earns eternal punishment. In the Pentateuch, God gave sinful man His law, so that if man wanted to earn eternal life, he could clearly see what was expected of him. But Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Galatians 3:10 tells us that whoever relies on the righteousness of the Law to save them is under a curse, for it is written that anyone who doesn't abide by the Law is cursed. Thus all men are cursed. Period. Unavoidable. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. No one is righteous, no one understands or even seeks after God. So that's the starting place.

Enter Christ. He became sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). He lived just as we live and died the death that we deserved - not just physical death, but He bore the wrath of God on His Person - an eternity's worth - so that our penatly would be paid. (Hebrews 2:17, I John 2:2, I John 4:10, Romans 3:25) He took our identity and gave us His own. He gave His life as a ransom for ours (Mark 10:45).

So the story looks like this: Man sins and has eternal death. Only a perfect sacrifice can offered in our place, or else we are condemned to eternal hell. Jesus offered Himself to pay our debt and gave us His identity. Now we can have an eternal relationship with the Father because we bear the righteousness of Christ.

Okay, so if other religious systems work, then Jesus' work on the cross was simply theatrics. If there are other ways to God or if there is no penalty for sin, then why in the world would the Father sacrifice His Son? If the works of man, which every other religious system relies on, are sufficient to save, then there is no need for the cross and the Bible is just a lie. But if God's Word is truth and there is a penalty for sin and only Jesus, being God Himself and sinless, could pay that price, then there really is only one way to God and it's through His Son. This means that all other religious systems are lies created by Satan to lull people into a sense of security as they head to a very hot eternity.

We need to stand on this truth. Yes, we are intolerant of other religions and other systems. Yes, we know that we are right and all others are wrong. The Jews, the Muslims, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons, the Buddhists, the Hindus - they're all going to hell. Only the man who has put his faith in Jesus Christ, who has surrendered his life to God through Christ alone will have eternal life. Jesus is the only way, and folks, waffling on this point for the sake of tolerance is actually a very hateful thing to do, because this truth has eternal consequences.

But believers today are shying away from taking a strong stance on this one. As you saw in the video, it is hard to look at someone and tell them you are right and they are wrong. But that's what truth is all about. It is not an acceptable answer to say that you believe your way, but you leave the judging up to God. Obviously, God is the righteous judge and will judge the hearts of men, but we are given the criteria of judgment and we must stand on it as truth. Again, it is a hateful thing to have the truth and not share it. This world tries to make intolerance the enemy, but intolerance of lies is at the heart of the Christian's claim. We cannot listen to lies and keep quiet.

So, to answer our question, the Bible confirms that there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. Believe it and speak up.

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