“Three Paths to God”

I recently watched a very interesting documentary on holy places in Jerusalem.  It showed places which Islam, Judaism and Christianity hold to be sacred.  The Islamic shrines in particular were very beautiful.  I marveled at the patience and dedication it must have taken to build them.  They are truly works of art.  Islam was once the bastion of science and math.  Though I recognize that not all Muslims may agree with the practice, it’s a shame that Islam is now known mainly for blowing things up and killing people.

One of the things that struck me was the difference in the places honored by the three groups.  Islam and Catholic Christianity have large, ornate buildings.  Judaism has a ruin….

In contrast to the ornate monuments of the other religions, Judaism has the Wailing Wall.  There was a segment describing excavations at the base of the Wall, showing what Herod did to prepare to build it.  There was also mention of the oldest synagogue in Jerusalem, on the first floor of the home of the Jewish family featured in the film. Nevertheless, the Wailing Wall is the main Jewish location in Jerusalem.

The documentary told the story of Jerusalem through the eyes of three families, one from each of the three religions represented in the city.  In a way, it was a sad documentary.  The Muslim family was separated by the politics of the region.  The mother and son lived in Jerusalem.  The father was forced to live elsewhere because he was not Jewish.  The family could only get together at a “neutral” site, which they did once a week on Friday.

The Jewish family had been in Jerusalem for nine generations, except for a few years because of one of the frequent battles in the area.  In fact, they were responsible for watching over the oldest synagogue in Jerusalem.

The Christian was a member of the Franciscan Order, whose brother had been murdered and the perpetrator had never been found.

The story revolved around these three families preparations for their respective ways of worship on Friday.

The Islamic woman and her son had prepared food for a meal with the father, then had to go through security checkpoints to get to him – then to get back home.  The Jewish family observed a meal before making their way to the Wailing Wall to pray for their city and people.  The Franciscan monk, with several of his brothers, walked the Via Dolorosa, the traditional journey Jesus took on His way to the Cross.  In it are the 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict various events believed to have been part of that journey.  The Franciscans’ goal was The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of the Crucifixion.  It was this monk’s job this time to read the English version of the narrative at each Station.  The interesting thing about him was that he is Palestinian, not Jewish or Caucasian.

There was something else which struck me.  During the course of his narrative, the narrator described these three religions as “three paths to God.”

If “God is One,” as all these religions teach, then how can such divergent views – indeed, such contradictory views – all lead to Him?

Toward the end of the documentary, one of the Muslim spokesmen referred to the teaching of the Quran that “the people of the Book,” that is, Jews and Christians, were to embrace the teachings of his book.

Although the theology of all this is way beyond the scope of this post, I acknowledge each person’s right, humanly speaking, to believe as they will or not in this present world.  We have that freedom in the US, a freedom not enjoyed in other countries, particularly where Islam is predominant.  I would never force others to accept my views. I put these views on this blog with the hope that they may at least give others something to think about.

The thing is, how can I, as one of “the people of the Book,” turn from it to receive new and contradictory teachings?

For example, Islam, though recognizing Isaac, teaches that Ishmael was the favored son of Abraham, and it was he who was sacrificed on the Mount.  Scripture teaches that Isaac was the chosen son of promise and that Ishmael, though blessed as a result of Abraham’s prayer, was rejected and sent away. Isaac was sacrificed, not Ishmael.  And he was truly sacrificed, the fact that God intervened at the last moment notwithstanding.  Abraham was fully prepared to kill his son, though he was prevented from doing so.  Hebrews 11:17, 18 has a commentary on this, which you ought to read to get Abraham’s thoughts during this trial.

Jesus is looked on as just another prophet, like Moses and Adam.  Of His crucifixion, Islam says that it is a “monstrous falsehood”.  On these two distinctions lie the main differences between Islam and the Bible.

Moses was indeed a prophet, but Scripture never tells us whether Adam was ever “saved”.  His son Abel is the first one it ever calls “righteous”.

During His own lifetime, some people thought Jesus was merely a prophet, or a reincarnation of one of the Old Testament figures, Matthew 16:14.  As the spokesman for the disciples, Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” v. 16.  Though the disciples didn’t understand everything that was involved until after the Resurrection, they understood that Jesus was more than just a mere man.

It’s often said that Jesus never claimed to be God.  This is false.  John 8 records one of what were probably many such confrontations between Jesus and the Jews.  In this particular incident, the Jews were talking about Abraham and during the discussion wanted to know if Jesus were greater than their founding patriarch.  In John 8:58, Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, ‘Before Abraham was, I AM.”   By His use of the designation Jehovah in the Old Testament used of Himself, Exodus 3:14, the Jews understood fully that Jesus was claiming to be God.  That’s why they tried to kill Him, v. 59.

As for the crucifixion, our Lord many times referred to His death, Matthew 16:21; 17:22, 23; 20:18, 19.  The disciples fell woefully short in their understanding of what He was saying when He told them about it because His dying didn’t fit in with what they thought would happen when the Messiah came.  They failed to understand that without that death, none of the things promised in the Old Testament about the final restoration of Israel could happen.

This is outside the scope of this post, but let me say only that the OT promises of Israel’s restoration were not all fulfilled in the return from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah, nor are its promises of “the kingdom” fulfilled in “the church” in some sort of “spiritual Israel.”  Many disagree.

As for the other, how many “paths” are there to God?

The Lord Jesus was very clear on this.  In Luke 12:24, He said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” In Matthew 7:13, 14, He said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

You see, there is no salvation in a Christianity which is looked on as just another of the world’s religions.  Indeed, if that is all it is, it’s unnecessary.  “Religion” is about ornate buildings, impressive ritual, solemn liturgy, all part of what someone has called “the trappings of religion.”

It’s only as we understand what the Lord meant when He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  In other words, if you ever want to get to know the Father, the Son will have to introduce you.

“Religion” looks on His statements as unnecessarily restrictive, or as “bigoted.”  But Christianity is the only religion with a Cross, with a Resurrection.  In just a little while, it will be Easter.  Multitudes will take part in “Easter Sunrise Services.”  I wonder, though, how many truly understand the significance of what they’re celebrating.  Or is Easter just an opportunity to wear a new outfit?  One of a couple of time a year one goes to “church”? Something to be done before the annual Easter egg hunt?

The Resurrection is the evidence that God accepted the death which preceded it.  That death was a payment for sins.  In theological terms, it was a “satisfaction” for the penalty required by our breaking of God’s Law.  The Franciscan brother mentioned above talked about “getting to salvation” by suffering, etc.  But salvation is NOT about what WE do.  There’s nothing we can do to pay for our own sins.  It’s all about what the Lord Jesus did, not only on the Cross, but during His whole life.

God requires absolute perfection, with not a single misstep in our whole life.  Who can honestly say that of themselves?  A single fault, a single “mistake” is enough to condemn us forever.  What, then, about the innumerable things of which we are all guilty?  There’s only been One Who could ever challenge His enemies, “Which one of you can accuse me of sin?” John 8:46 paraphrase.

It’s that perfect righteous life that’s imputed to the believing sinner that allows him or her to stand uncondemned before a holy, righteous and just God. It’s that effective death which allows him to enter heaven rather than being consigned to hell.  In and of ourselves, we have no such life or death.

There’s no salvation in “religion,” no “path to God” through the doors of any religious building, no matter how beautiful or impressive it may be.  No religious observance can atone for a single sin.

Salvation is only to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, who He was and what He did. There is no other “path to God.”  No other door by which we may enter.

There’s so much that could be said about this.  Let me just finish up with this:  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, Acts 16:31.  He alone is the path to God.

 

 

 

 

“He made them male and female.”

There is a lot of confusion about this simple declaration of Scripture.  (Of course, that’s the main problem in contemporary society – it’s Scripture.  Very few people really think the Bible has any relevance to or place in 2014.)  This confusion is exemplified in the recent decision by a popular social medium to add a large number of choices for folks to check in this regard as they make their profiles.   Nevertheless, no matter how you dress it, homo sapiens only comes in two models: male or female.

A few weeks ago, the popular star of a reality TV show talked about this in an interview.  I don’t know who was more upset and offended by his remarks: the gay community for disagreeing with their viewpoint, or Christians for talking about the physiological realities involved.  Granted that he perhaps could have been more careful in his choice of words, but he was just telling it as he saw it, the incompatibility of the human body with same-sex relationships.

The human body truly is an amazing organism.  It has a number of “systems” to keep it going.  The skeleton provides the framework which supports all the rest.  Muscles, ligaments and tendons hold it all together and make it possible to move and do things.  The respiratory system brings in oxygen, which the circulatory system distributes to every cell of the body several times a minute.  Not only does the circulatory system distribute oxygen to each cell, but then it picks up “waste” like carbon dioxide, which it transfers to the respiratory system, which then exhales it.  This is all done without our thought, for the most part.  True, one can hold his breath, but eventually will have to breathe.  The body will not allow you to hold your breath long enough to commit suicide.  If nothing else, you will pass out – and then the body will automatically begin to breathe.  Have you ever thought about how amazing the respiratory and circulatory systems are?  How would you like it if the same trucks which picked up your trash, say on Wednesday, then delivered your groceries on Thursday?  Then there’s the reproductive system, by which homo sapiens continues as a species.  It’s heavily muscled, to allow for the exertion of sexual activity and for the rigors of birth.  It’s specifically designed for that.  God made them male and female, and told them to bear children before the Fall. Sex isn’t just some sordid result of it.  Men have turned it into something sordid, but that’s not God’s fault.  Then there is the nervous system, which gives us a sense of touch.  The digestive system allows us to enjoy a thick steak or nice veggie burger, digest it and distribute its nutrients to every cell of the body, and to get rid of what the body doesn’t or can’t use.

The thing is, with all these systems, and others we haven’t mentioned, that while these systems are all interdependent, they are not interchangeable.  Each system has a definite role to play in the life and well-being of the individual.

Further, there’s more to the individual than just the body.  While some may dismiss this as just the result of chemical processes or genetic disposition, where do works of art come from?  Musical masterpieces?  Works of commerce and industry – good or bad. Science, which explores and seeks to explain the world in which we live?  You may say, well, they come from the brain.  That’s true, but every animal has a brain.

The Robin’s nest I wrote about a few months ago is a marvel of construction, still firmly attached to the top of the porch light through wind and rain and 8 feet of snow (not all at once!) though it is protected by the roof’s overhang.  In fact, I couldn’t remove it without literally tearing it twig from twig.  It’s stuck!  I’m waiting to see if Robins use it this spring – if it ever stops snowing!

There was a story several years ago about a chimpanzee.  This chimp was given a handful of rice mixed with grains of sand.  The object of the experiment was to see how she would cope.  There was some water nearby.  She threw this mixture into the water and was then easily able to pick out the grains of rice.  Now, that is truly something to think about – how this chimp figured out how to solve her problem.  But I don’t know of any animal that has figured out how to plant rice.

Given what she did, and there are other stories as well, still, there are no “Collected Works of Apespeare.”  No animal writes books or builds libraries.  Birds can fly and some squirrels can glide, but no animal has ever built an airplane or hang-glider.

There is a difference.  In spite of the evolutionary viewpoint which tells us that we’re just advanced primates, it’s obvious we’re different.

The idea of male and female brings up the topic of sex.  I’m sorry if that phrase offends you, but where do you think you came from?  If you’re uncomfortable with the subject, though I’ll try to be a little more careful than the reality TV star, perhaps you ought not to read the rest of the post.

I recognize that many people don’t believe the Bible.  I can’t help that; it’s there we’re going.    God made every part of His animate creation to yield seed and to reproduce itself.  Every part of animate creation does.  At the same time, sex was never meant to be an end in itself.  For every species except humans, that’s true.  Marlins and moose and myna birds don’t have “gentlemen’s clubs”.  Only humans take sex down into the sewer.

Having said that, make no mistake about it, God made sex to be enjoyable.  If it were like having a root canal, how long would the race have survived?  Even women are meant to enjoy it, contrary to that religious view which practices female circumcision.  In Genesis 18:12, after God had promised Abraham that he would have a son through his wife, Sarah, who had been eavesdropping, said, “Shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” 

“Shall I have pleasure?”  The word translated, “pleasure” is from the same root as the word translated “Eden,” as in the Garden of Eden.  Because of their sin, Adam and Eve suffered “paradise lost.”  Satan tries to convince fallen men and women that unbridled sexual activity is “paradise regained.”  It’s too bad he seems to have succeeded.

In His wisdom, God put some limits on human sexuality.  

The first limit was that it was to be between a married man and woman, married to each other, that is.  It was meant to be a privilege, the consummation of a lifelong commitment of one man to one woman – and one woman to one man.  It was never supposed to be “casual,” or the commencement of a “relationship,” or even just “a one night stand.”  It was something designed for a lifetime.  The Bible never countenances the idea that “it’s just sex,” as if it were of no more importance than selecting which clothes to wear for the day or which sandwich to have for lunch.

God made them male and female.  For that reason, same sex sexual relationships are forbidden.  Even human physiology shows their incongruity.  Male/female matches.  Male/male or female/female do not.  It’s like the two poles of a battery.  Opposite poles attract; corresponding poles do not.

The differences between male and female were to extend even to clothing.  It was forbidden to wear the clothes of the opposite sex.  I remember when pantsuits came out. In the church we went to at the time, the pastor was all up in the air about women wearing men’s clothing.  The thing is, pantsuits were designed for women.  I don’t know that I ever saw a man wearing them.  In many cultures, men and women dress similarly, but you can still tell the difference.  If we’re not supposed to wear the clothes of the opposite sex, how much less are we to try to become or live like the opposite sex?

It’s sometimes argued that we’re born with a particular sexual orientation and so can’t help it.  That may be true.  However, we’re also born as sinners, and God holds us accountable for it.  God holds us accountable for every part of our lives.

It’s sometimes argued that Jesus never talked about any of this.  That’s only partly true. Because He was a Jew, born under the Law, Galatians 4:4, He had no reason to mention it.  The Law is quite specific.  Cf. Leviticus 18 and 20, where the word nakedness refers specifically to the genitalia.  Sexual relationship between other than husband and wife – or with animals – was strictly forbidden.  Jesus had no reason to mention these things.  The laws were on the books.

He did, however, confirm the Old Testament’s original statement that He made them male and female. Matthew 19:4, 5; Mark 10:5, 6.

Sex is the one place where mankind can be the most like God, that is, in the creation of life.  Granted, there are huge, insurmountable, differences between us and our ability and God and His ability. Nevertheless, it’s the only way we can bring life into being.   

The second limit follows from the first.  Without getting into the discussion about “birth control,” sexual activity results in children.  In the Bible, children are a blessing, not a burden.

Human children are unlike any other offspring in the world.  Other offspring mature and are able to live on their own in just a few days or weeks.  In some rare cases, it may be a year or two.  Not so with human babies.  They take years.  

The baby robins who were born on my porch were grown and gone in just a few weeks. When I was growing up, we kept tropical fish.  Mama guppy was as likely to eat her offspring as not.  Precautions had to be taken to prevent her from doing so.  The male Siamese Fighting Fish was a joy to watch as he carefully built his nest of bubbles, then gently enfolded the female, squeezing the eggs from her body, at the same time fertilizing them.  Then he would carefully gather the eggs into his mouth and put them into the nest.  It was no “family affair,” though, because after the spawning was done, he was done with her and we had to put her into a different aquarium to protect her.  As the little ones hatched, he watched over them and made sure they didn’t wander too deep into the aquarium.  The pressure would have harmed them or killed them.  However, when it became more than he could handle, he was likely to put them on the menu himself.  So far as I know, there are no “granchildren” in the animal world.  After I was married, I tried to get back into the hobby.  We had some zebra danios who became heavy with eggs.  When momma danio began to lay those eggs – in a community aquarium – the other fish went wild.  Danio caviar!

I joke about it, but children are no joke!  Among our grandchildren are some teenagers. Though they’re getting there, they’re still not adults.  It may be true that children learn the majority of all they will learn in the first few years of life, but no five-year-old is ready for his own apartment.

God intended sexual activity to be confined to marriage, and marriage was to be the foundation of family and the cement which held it together.  Family was to be the foundation of society.  I understand, especially in our day, there are a lot of single mothers – and fathers.  I also understand there are reasons for this, but the main one is that society has thrown out the idea of “the traditional family” to a large extent and made sex an end in itself.  Children are just an unfortunate “byproduct.”  The woman is usually the one who gets stuck with them.  She suffers and so do the kids.  This has become an acceptable norm.  At a place I worked, one of the young women had either become pregnant, or knew someone who had.  One of her co-workers asked who the father was.  The tone of her voice was no different than if she had asked where the first girl got her outfit.  At another place, one of the young men was bragging about the fact that he had eight children by five different women.  He was rejoicing that he had now become a man, because he finally had a daughter!  It doesn’t take anything special in a man to get a woman pregnant.  It does take something to commit to that woman, stay with her, take care of her and help raise the children the man fathers!

There’s something else.  There was a story on the internet about a man who had just discovered that the family he had been in for many years was not his real family.  He was trying to find his original family, in part so “he could find out who he was.”  Our family forms our first sense of identity.

It’s a great shame that the concept of “family” is more far likely to be molded by Tuesday night “comedy” on TV than it is by Scripture. 

Fathers have almost become irrelevant, except as sperm donors, and even that is often done impersonally through third party “sperm banks” or fertility clinics.  Men might want to rethink that, though.  A judge recently ruled that one such sperm donor was responsible for child support (!)

In the original creation, it took male and female to be “complete”.  Eve wasn’t created with some perceived inferiority in herself, but because of the incompleteness of Adam. There’s more to it than this, of course, but a man – or a woman – can’t conceive by themselves.  Neither are they supposed to raise children by themselves.

It’s in the family that we get our first lessons of living with others.  We learn to share – at least in theory.  We learn to get along with others.  We also learn about something called “authority.”  Too often in our society, it’s the kids who run things, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  Parents are there to teach kids that not only is there such a thing as authority, but that there is an ultimate authority – God.  We need to learn that we can’t just run around doing whatever we want without regard for others.  The chaos in our society and among our youth is there because this basic truth has been discarded and kids grow up with the idea that they’re number one.  This carries over into adulthood and we see the ruin that accompanies that viewpoint all around us.

There’s more to our lives than what happens in the bedroom.  That is why He made them male and female.  

“A Relationship with God”

If you’ve been around more or less conservative churches for any length of time, you’ve probably heard some preacher or personal worker urge people to be saved, so they can “have a relationship with God.”  I understand where they’re coming from, but the truth of the matter is that everyone already has a “relationship” with God.  Now, this DOES NOT mean, as some believe, that we’re already all the children of God.  Nevertheless, from the most outspoken atheist to the most devoted believer, from the newly-fertilized ovum looking for a place to nestle in its mother’s womb to the most elderly person on the planet, whether historic or contemporary, ancient or modern, each and every human being has a “relationship” with God.  To be sure, it isn’t necessarily the same, but it is a “relationship” nevertheless.

What do I mean?

We live in a society which for the most part has abandoned any real belief in the Biblical God.  Almost any religion, it seems, is acceptable except that Christianity which seeks to live by the Bible.  There’s a lot of what I call “sanctified unbelief” in some churches, which seem to believe that, in order to defend the Bible, one must rip it apart.  Really, though, there’s nothing “sanctified” about it.  It’s out-and-out rebellion against the Lord. That kind of Christianity is acceptable to the world, because it agrees with the skeptic and unbeliever.  However, even churches which say they believe the Bible too often present God as if He were “out there” somewhere trying to get in.  He wants to bless us, but He can’t.  As it were, He paces on the sideline of His own creation unless and until we decide, so to speak, to send Him into the game.  We are too often practical deists, acting as if He started the whole thing rolling and then went off somewhere and left His handiwork to run by itself, even if we claim to believe in Him.

Is this an accurate picture of God?  Is it what He says of Himself?

And what about that newly-fertilized ovum?  How can a speck of protoplasm have “a relationship” with God?

Since that’s where we all start, that’s where we’ll start.

Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible from the standpoint of when it written. He lived before Moses.  Trying to work his way through the reason for the things he was suffering, and thinking of his relationships with various people in his life, he said of his servants, “Did not He [God] who made me in the womb make them?  Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15.

To God, the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:13, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.”

There are several references to “the womb” in regard to different persons in the Bible. To Jeremiah, God said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” Jeremiah 1:5. Paul said something similar of himself in Galatians 1:15, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace….”  Even of the nation of Israel, God said, “Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb,” Isaiah 44:2.   Also v. 24.

Of course, there are those today who might respond, “Well, that’s just the ignorance of biblical writers.  We know about DNA and the development of a fetus.  God has nothing to do with it.”

Doesn’t He?

I knew a lady who had just began to understand something of the sovereignty of God in life.  In her excitement at this, she used the following illustration:  when a bullet is fired from a gun, God holds it on the way where it is going.  That’s not quite true.  God made the forces which influence and determine the bullet’s trajectory.  He Himself doesn’t “hold” it.  He seldom works directly like this.  When He does, it’s called a miracle.  At the same time, He’s in active superintendence and control of those forces – and all other aspects of His creation.  He’s not just sitting up there, as it were, playing Solitaire on His computer while the world goes its own way and does its own thing.

So it is with the development of that little fertile ovum.

Basically, what is DNA?  And I don’t mean just the name:  Deoxyribonucleic Acid.  DNA is information, information about every possible aspect of a person’s physical being.  So, as the ovum begins to develop, it does so in accord with the instruction of the DNA it received from its parents.

The thing is, information doesn’t just “appear.”  It doesn’t just “evolve” or develop.  It comes from somewhere.  It has a source.  Where did DNA come from?  Who “programs” it?

The evolutionist claims that it just happened – along with everything else – over countless billions of years.  Blind luck.  Random chance.  Roll of the dice.

The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created….”

That is our first “relationship” with God.  He is our Creator.

However, as we noted above, He doesn’t just get things started and then leave them to continue as they will.  Scripture says He is also the Sustainer of life.  In rebuking the wicked King Belshazzar, the son (actually, possibly grandson) of Nebuchadnezzar, for his wicked desecration of Temple vessels, Daniel said. “They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them.  And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified,” Daniel 5:23, 24 (NKJV).

Paul refers to God like this is 1 Timothy 4:10, calling Him the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.  The word translated “savior” carries the idea of “preserver,” and not just “savior” in a spiritual sense.  This used to be known as “the providence of God.”  He is the Savior in a spiritual sense of those who believe, and they only.  Referring to Christ, the writer of Hebrews says that He upholds all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:3.  In that verse alone, there is enough material for a lifetime of study.  God upholds and sustains His creation moment by moment.

God is our Preserver.

There are some who are upset by the idea that God could “own” the ways of a drunken idolater.  Others say, “Yes, but what about our free will?”  As to the first, God did not approve of nor accept what Belshazzar did.  But Belshazzar couldn’t have done it if he were dead.  Daniel simply reminded him that every breath, every heartbeat, every second of life, ultimately came from God.  As to the other, each man did what he wanted.  Nebuchadnezzar wanted to become ruler of the world.  He did.  Belshazzar wanted to throw a party.  He did.  Neither were compelled by God in what they did. Neither was outside the superintendence of God in what they did.

There is more.

When God created, He set into motions the laws and principles by which His creation would operate.  For example, like begets like.  That is, a bear never gives birth to a puppy or a trout or a canary.   Nor to something that will develop into one of them.  Even that favorite of the evolutionists, the eohippus, was still just a horse.

There are also physical laws, like gravity.  Even though man has learned to use gravity, he will never change it.  Further, if you break that law, like jumping from a tall building, there will be consequences.

God is the Governor of His creation.

This isn’t just limited to physical or natural law.  There is also a moral component – exemplified in the “thou shalls” and the “thou shall nots” of the Ten Commandments.  This is where our difficulty lies.  We don’t want to be limited by those old puritanical ideas.  We want freedom!  We want to live our lives, do our own thing!  We are “the captains of our souls.”  We are “the masters of our fate.”  Strange how those words of defiance to “whatever gods there might be” are sometimes used by Christians. Just goes to show how deep-seated our rebellion against God is.

However, actions have consequences.

So.

God is the Judge of His creation.

Not forever will mankind thumb its nose at its Creator.  Not forever will men and women flout their wills over the will of the Creator.  Judgment is coming.  Every thought, word and action will be judged by a righteous, holy and just God.  Every hidden thing will be analyzed in the light of impeccable holiness.  Nothing will be overlooked, missed or ignored.

Nothing….

Yes, but what about those who have never heard the Gospel or perhaps even seen a Bible?  Throughout the course of history, that probably describes the majority of mankind.  Paul addressed this situation in Romans 2:14, 15, when he refers to Gentiles who, though they don’t have the Mosaic Law, nevertheless have the work of the Law written in their hearts.  This simply means that every person, no matter who or where they are, whether “primitive” or “civilized,” has a concept of “right” and “wrong.”  Now these may not agree with what God says is right and wrong in His word.  Nevertheless, the concept is there and when one violates even that concept, he or she is guilty before God.  And every one of us has violated that concept.  Haven’t we?  Can any of us say that we have ALWAYS lived as we should?  Or do we have to admit that we’re “not perfect”?  What shall we say then to the violation of the Word of God each of us is guilty of?

God is the Judge.

There’s a popular idea that “all roads lead to heaven.”  That is, it doesn’t matter what “religion” you may have, you’re on your way to heaven.

Is that true?

Is that what the Bible teaches?

If it is, the Bible is unnecessary.

The Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me,”John 14:6.  In Matthew 7:13, 14, He said, “Enter by the  narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Modern unbelief may think it has bulldozed a few more lanes to the “way to life,” but Peter put it like this in his defense before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (emphasis added).

I’ve heard this idea labelled as bigotry, and even heard the Lord called a bigot.  But, in spite of the world’s idea to the contrary, there are absolutes, and this is one of them. There’s only one way of salvation and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who He was and what He did for sinners.

Even the most “tolerant” person, when he goes into the pharmacy, expects the pharmacist to be “narrow” in fulfilling his prescription.  He is concerned, rightly, that the pharmacist give him, say, aspirin and not arsenic.

It’s only in moral and spiritual things that it doesn’t seem to matter.  Indeed, when it comes to their souls, men and women seem to prefer arsenic.

All kinds of people have visited this blog and read posts.  I thank you for this visit and reading the post.  Just let me say this.  You have a relationship with God.  Is it the “right” one?  The one that will get you to heaven?

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