Saturday, June 28, 2014
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all,
the testimony given at the proper time.
I Timothy 2:5,6
In these two verses, one sentence actually, Paul gives the gospel - he lays out what separates Christianity from the world. Boom. Said. Done.
Here's the problem with religious tolerance - being accepting of a lie does no good for the believer of that lie. Let me explain it this way: Your child comes home from school and is working on her math homework. It's pretty straight forward - addition. When she finishes, she asks you to check it. Here's what it looks like:
1+2 = 4
2+2 = 5
3+2 = 6
4+2 = 7
5+2 = 8
6+2 = 9
7+2 = 10
8+2 = 11
9+2 = 12
10+2 = 13
Now, she's not that far off really - each answer is just a little bit wrong, but they're still wrong. So what do you do? In the name of tolerance and acceptance, do you just pat her on the head and say, "Good for you! You did a great job! Keep up the good work!", fully knowing she is going to fail that assignment? Of course you wouldn't do that. You would sit down with her and correct the errors and have her rework the problems. You might grab a few apples and use them as a visual aid, as well. But you wouldn't just tolerate her misunderstanding about addition. You would gently correct it or else she will fail.
Here's the problem - we know that 2+2 = 4 is a universal truth, right? It doesn't matter what society you come from or if you're right or left handed - it's truth. But some would argue that I am not comparing apples with apples - that "religion" (sorry, I hate that word) and mathematics are not comparable. Religion is personal - it's subjective, so it can vary from person to person. Math is objective and that makes it truth.
But remember, Jesus said to Pilate that He was born to testify to the truth (John 18:37,38), to which Pilate asked, What is truth? The world cannot quantify truth - today truth is subjective, therefore each of us is allowed to believe whatever he wants to believe, and as long as he lives by his convictions, he's a man of integrity. Recently the Pope agreed with this assertion, declaring that eternal life is for people who live according to their convictions, even if they do not believe in God.
If this is the new truth, then 2+2 can equal 5 and we'd better not correct it because we'll be offending our child's version of truth.
Pretty skewed, right? Murky reasoning leads to bad conclusions.
So now let's turn to the gospel. You believe it's truth, right? It stands in complete opposition to all other religions - it is based on DIVINE ACHIEVEMENT rather than HUMAN ACCOMPLISHMENT (you see the difference, right?). We know the scriptures teach against empty tradition, vain effort and false religion. In our verses above, we are clearly taught that there are not multiple avenues to God - that all religions can't take it's own pathway to God and in the end, we all end up okay. Do we just believe this and hope we're right? Or do we confidently stand on truth, seeing its evidence within creation and thousands of year of transformed lives?
Here's another problem with tolerance - Christianity clearly claims to be the ONLY way to God. If you are a Christ-follower what place does religious tolerance have in our belief system?
If we truly believe the gospel, then what do we do about it? Do you stand by quietly while your neighbor turns in a faulty math paper? Or do you love them enough, knowing their eternity hangs in the balance, to sit with them, gently correct them and share truth with them? Or have you bought into the lie that truth is relative and you're hoping everything ends up fine in the end for everyone…here's a suggestion - spend some time with I Timothy 2:5,6 and do a heart check.
You have the truth - what are you going to do with it? Don't fear rejection - Jesus had plenty of that and it didn't hold Him down. You have a precious gift that gives life. Share it and see what God does...