Are There Many Paths to “God”?

Posted: August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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This idea is becoming more and more popular as the days and years go by.  While this is certainly not a new idea or thought, one thing is causing its growth.  Tolerance.  Tolerance has become crucial throughout the world.  The countries that are looked down upon are looked down because there is little tolerance for religion, ethnicity, or gender.  The most basic definition of tolerance is simply acceptance.  Not necessarily personal acceptance of something, but an acceptance that does not bring attention to diversity.  Everyone desires acceptance.  It starts in kindergarten recess.  Everyone wants to be picked to play kickball, soccer, football, or even red-rover.  No one wants to be the outcast kid in tag that no one ever tries to run after.

So here is where the problem starts, acceptance.  Acceptance of viewpoints, activities, and ideas.  Taking a look at the ministry of Jesus gives us a clear picture of his acceptance.  Did Jesus accept all people?  Yes…and no.  What I mean is, he did not look at social status, wealth, health, or otherwise.  He searched the heart for a desire to know him.  Did he seek after all people?  Absolutely.  Jesus sought after the “righteous” as well as the unrighteous.  John 4 shows us that barriers were not in Jesus’ ministry.  Here he witnessed to a woman.  And this was not just a woman, it was a Samaritan woman.  And it did not even stop there, he witnessed to many Samaritans that the woman brought to him.  He also spoke freely in the temple where Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes could hear the Good News.  In fact, I am sure he got all of their attention when he overthrew the tables and proclaimed the temple a house of prayer.

Acceptance of people is crucial to sharing the gospel.  The hesitation comes in when we accept people and whatever their views are because we do not want to offend them.  Can you imagine Jesus’ ministry if he worried about offending people?  It makes me laugh!  He would not have ended up on a cross.  He would not have been beaten.  He would not have had a large impact at all.  Thank goodness he did not worry about offending people, just about speaking the truth.

So too, we must worry first about speaking the truth.  Tolerance of ungodly ideas can lead to people believing they can earn their own salvation.  That they can be good enough to get into heaven.  That if God is a good God, then we must only be good and we can be in the “club.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 speaks directly to this, “For it is by grace you have been saved, trough faith-AND THIS NOT FROM YOURSELVES IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD-NOT BY WORKS, so that no one can boast.”  The idea that there is a path of good works that leads to heaven is completely false.  Not mostly false, not partially false, but completely.  We cannot tolerate anyone that preaches or teaches this idea because they are leading others down the road of destruction.

Another false idea about salvation is that because God is a good God, no one goes to hell.  It is the idea that God is not out to punish anyone, he simply wants them to live life to the full, and be good people, and then when we die we get to go to heaven.  Of course this is not biblical.  I would say that God is not out to punish people, but there are certainly consequences to our actions on earth.  The Bible speaks clearly of a place called hell.  We will stand before the judgment seat.  Romans 14:12 says, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  And through this we will enter the pearl gates or be thrown into hell.  Jesus warns the Pharisees in Matthew 23:33 about their selfish faith and that it can lead them to hell, “You snakes!  You brood of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

Another popular idea in the world, not so much America, is that we all believe and worship the same God.  Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Mormons, and other religions that hold to a god are all connected because it is the same person.  I read a true story about a pastor that went and talked with a bunch of different religious leaders at a conference.  They talked about the need for tolerance in the world of religion.  They began to talk about how they all worship the same God, just in different forms.  The pastor let them talk for a while and then said, “Ok, what it seems like you are saying is that God is on top of a mountain and there are many different ways to get up that mountain.  Some may be harder than others, but they all lead to the top of the mountain.”  The other leaders shook their heads and smiled as though they were all on the same page.  The pastor continued, “What if God decided not to stay at the top of the mountain, but decided to come down the mountain to us?”  They began to express how wonderful that would be.  The pastor then said, “Then let me tell you about Jesus.”  See, God is not up on a mountain waiting for us to reach him.  In fact there is no path that we can take to reach him.  We know that there are not many different paths that we can take to get to God, because there is no path we can take that gets us there.  It is only through the power of the Truth, not our own that we can reach God.

So here is the truth, or should I say, Truth.  John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  There is only one way we will ever live eternally with the Father; through faith in the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, the great I Am, Jesus of Nazareth.  John 3:16 says that we just simply believe in Jesus to receive eternal life in heaven.  Romans 10: 9 says that if we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess it with our mouths we will be saved.  God has come down from the mountain and made it incredibly simple to know and have a relationship with him.  It is through Jesus the Messiah.  There is no other way.  If we say there is, then we are liars.

Again, tolerance of people is crucial to sharing the gospel with them.  However, we must stay true to the Word.  No matter the cost, we cannot twist the truth and make it our own.  If it offends someone, so be it.  If it kills us, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)  We must not tolerate or accept false teachings.  It will lead only to destruction.

In Christ’s Love,

Josh

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