By Bill Keller | Original article | Used with permission
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV).
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6 ESV).
A byproduct of the horrible events of September 11, 2001, was a more unified country. People like never [before] came together in a unified manner, ignoring the racial, ethnic, and economic barriers that normally divide us. It is good to see our nation stand together as one. Jesus even said, a house divided cannot stand. Today, I want to share something I have seen over these many years that has always disturbed me.
While I believe in my heart that we as Christians should love and care for those of other faiths, while we should be kind to them, we must never compromise the Christian faith just to be politically correct!!!
The fact is, God’s plan clearly says that there is only one road to salvation, there is only one road to Heaven, and that is through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. There is no other way to eternity with God. One of the byproducts of all of inter-faith gatherings and prayer services is the appearance that anyone who “has faith”, is “spiritual” will be in Heaven. My friend, that is not true!
God’s Word clearly tells us that those who reject Christ as their personal Savior in this life will be eternally separated from God their Creator. That means those who have chosen to follow the teaching of Islam, of Judaism, or Buddha, or anything other then the inspired, inerrant Word of God will be eternally separated from God when this life is over. As wonderful as other religions may be, they are just that, religions. Christianity is much more than a religion, it is a relationship. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Many can’t quite grasp how a loving God, a God of grace and mercy, would let “good people” die and be eternally separated from Him. It is because of sin. You see my friend, sin is something we are all born with. It has been part of the human condition since man sinned in the Garden of Eden. There is only one answer to sin, and that is the answer God put forth.
He sent His only Son Jesus to this earth to die for the sins of all men. It was God’s plan that Jesus, who was born of a virgin, thus without sin, who lived a sinless life, would die on Calvary’s cross and pay with his blood for the sins of all mankind. That my friend, is why it is only our faith in Jesus Christ that can wipe away our sins.
It is only faith in Christ that can allow sinful man to have his sins wiped clean so that upon death, he can spend eternity with a holy God. Those who never accept Christ, who reject Him, die in their sins, and thus are not able to be reconciled back to God their creator. This was God’s plan that He gave us because He loved us so much.
There is a unity, however, that we as Christians should be embracing and working towards. That is unity within the body of Christ. A prayer our Lord prayed just hours before going to the cross is still yet unanswered. In John 17:21, Christ prayed for the body of Christ to be one!
One of the goals of Liveprayer when we began 15 years ago, was to do what I could do to bring unity to the body of Christ. In some of my postgraduate theological studies, I did extensive research on over 150 mainline Christian denominations, what they believed, and what separated them. The fact is, they all hold the basic tenants of the Christian faith. It was usually on a wide array of theological issues, that made no difference to the main body of our faith, that there is disagreement and division.
I had the wonderful joy the first 3 years of serving the Lord to preach in over 500 churches of most every denomination and ethnic make-up. The fact is, the common bond amongst every church was people who were hurting, going through the trials and pains of life, and looking to God for help and answers. Now more than ever, this is a time for Christian churches to come together as one.
Never forget, it is not your church that saves you, but a personal relationship with Christ. So whether you are Baptist, Catholic, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assembly of God, Independent, Pentecostal, or whatever denomination your church belongs to, the most important thing is not the name of the building you choose to worship in, but your relationship with Christ.
I love you and care about you so much. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have many dear friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and many other faiths. I care about them very much. I pray for them daily to allow God to open their hearts to the truth of His Word. These are good people. They do many good works here on earth.
However, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8,9 that it is not of works that we are saved, but through faith in Christ. Period. I have agreed over the years to appear in several interfaith events and used my time to not only pray for the concerns being addressed at the event, but share how God so loved this world that He gave his only son, whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life!
We must never compromise the truth of God’s Word just to make people feel better. Actually, it is better to offend someone than fail to share with them the keys to eternal life. The Bible says that the Gospel is offensive to those who don’t believe. Our job is not to make people feel good, but to share with them the truth of His Word. What they choose to do with that information is between them and God. We have done what God expects us to do.
I pray today for those people of other faiths, that they will open their hearts to God’s love, and come to know His Son by faith. I pray for Christians, both here in this country and worldwide. I pray that we will not only be bold in sharing our faith with those of other faiths, but that we will become one, just like Christ prayed in the Garden over 2000 years ago.
Now more than ever, the body of Christ needs to stand together, in unity, no longer identified by the local church we attend, but by the faith in Christ we share. A faith that is the only hope for this world. A faith that is the only hope for each person. A faith that is the only road to everlasting life with God our Creator!!!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,