Posted by Gary on September 20, 2010
Why do I ask such a question? Of course Jesus died on the cross and rose again on the third day. The question beneath my question has to do with the other world religions and the belief of the great majority that there are many ways to heaven and we are all worshipping the same God.
Why did Jesus die on the cross? Because there was no other way for the sin of man to be atoned for. Is God an ogre? Does He delight in seeing people suffer? Why would God cause His Son to suffer on the cross if there were some other way(s) to get to heaven?
Do you remember what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Matthew 26:39 “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
If all the world’s religions ways of salvation are valid would God not have taken the cup of death out of Jesus’ hands? Would not the answer from heaven to this prayer have been? “Yes, My Son, it is possible for the cup to be taken from your hands for trips to Mecca and praying five times daily will make it possible for men to go to heaven.” Or, “My Son, you need not drink this cup because doing good deeds like taking people to the store and giving the church money will remove the guilt of sin”.
Jesus prayed, “If it is possible let this cup pass from Me…” Isn’t the fact that God the Father made Jesus drink the cup of suffering demonstrate that it was not possible any other way? To claim that the path of Islam, Judaism Buddhism, Jehovah’s Wintesses, Zoroastrianism and any other faith outside Christianity leads to heaven is to declare God a terrible, unmerciful tyrant. God made His Son suffer when there are other ways to heaven?
The claim of Jesus Christ is that there is no coming to the Father but through Him:
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Jesus does not mean simply that people must acknowledge that He existed for most the world’s religions and even some atheists do that. But none of the other faiths acknowledge that Jesus is God Almighty in the flesh and that He went to the cross as the sinless sacrifice for sins and received in His death the punishment sin deserves and then rose from the dead in victory over sin and death.
The world religions are willing to call Jesus a lesser god, a good man, good teacher and even prophet. Such acknowledgements will never save a person from their sins. “But” we say…”They are sincere”. Well, if sincerity can save then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross was there?
Jesus had to die on the cross because the penalty for sin is death and separation from the presence of the holy God:
Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.”
Our sins deserve death and Jesus tasted death for us as our Substitute. Jesus, the Just One, died for us, the unjust:
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”
To attempt to come to God apart from the sacrifice of God’s Son is an attempt to enter heaven by one’s own righteousness. It was not possible for the cup to be taken away, it had to be accomplished through the crucifixion and resurrection and so any plan of salvation that does not rest on these is false and will not save.
We are so sure we know other’s motives. I don’t know them myself but God does. When one hears the message of the gospel and rejects it because he sincerely holds to another faith is he or she to be admired? Here the Word of God:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 “…the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed– for our testimony to you was believed.”
We say that those who reject the gospel are sincere, God says they have disobeyed and that because they have they do not know Him and will be shut out of His presence and pay the penalty of eternal destruction.
Often in such discussions one will ask, “Who are you to say that people who reject the Christian faith will perish?” I am no one and I am not the one who has said they will, God has. The greater question is who is anyone to say that there are many roads to heaven when Christ has declared there is only one?
I am very aware that the only reason I am in the truth is by the grace of God. I have nothing to boast of but can only thank God for showing me the truth. It is my prayer and desire to see the nations and people of the world come to faith in Christ so that they may be saved. But come they must for it is impossible for a person to be saved outside faith in the One who died on the cross for their sins and rose again:
Acts 4:10-12 “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead– by this name this man stands here before you in good health.He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
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