by Mike Ratliff
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)
We live in an age of compromise. Liberal theology compromises the truth from Sacred Scripture in order to have peace with the world. These same liberals are also the first to object when one of their own is rebuked for their error. Their stance is that each person’s beliefs are between them and God and are nobody else’s business. This mindset has muddied the waters in some churches so badly that they are even seeking peace with Eastern religions such as Buddhism as we see in this article. In that article, a poll us quoted that shows that of religious Americans, 7 in 10 believe there is more than one path to salvation. On the other hand, Orthodox Christianity holds to the clear Biblical teaching that salvation is defined as a person’s reconcilement to God. This reconcilement is through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who atoned for their sin on the Cross. John 3:18 tells us that everyone is condemned already, but those who do believe in the name of Jesus as Lord and Saviour are no longer condemned. Orthodox Christianity teaches an exclusive gospel.
“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)
Our Lord’s own words tell us that the way to salvation is through a narrow gate that few find. The majority of people do not enter there, but take the wide and easy way to destruction. Those who enter this narrow gate are the Lord’s disciples.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 ESV)
Those who enter by the narrow gate have believed in the name of the only Son of God and they have begun their pilgrimage that will continue for the rest of their lives. It requires them to deny themselves and take up their crosses and follow the Lord. This is speaking of dying to self and living for the Lord in obedience to Him forever. The way that all disciples of the Lord Jesus must take is not one that they must choose or come up with on their own. Instead, the Lord tells us the way.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-7 ESV)
The way we must go in our pilgrimage through this life to God is through the Son. We must live our lives with Christ as Lord. He is the source of our direction. He is the source of the truth. He is the source of our eternal life. We cannot walk through this life and remain on the path if we do so according to any other parameters. If we live for ourselves then we are not on the path that leads to life. If we believe we can compromise the truth and remain on the path then we have been deceived. If we believe that there are more ways to salvation other than Jesus then we are not on the path that leads to life.
As I drive around our metropolitan area I see more and more cars with this bumper sticker on them.
This clever statement is saying that all religions are equal and so we should not preach exclusivity as our Lord did. Instead, we should “compromise” and seek peace with others at all costs. I challenge anyone to show me in Sacred Scripture any command to do this. No, you won’t find it. This “philosophy” is a teaching of men not God. Some may ask, “Shouldn’t we be at peace with all?” We are commanded to be at peace with one another, but the main command by our Lord we should follow is to be salt and light in this world and we cannot do that if we are compromising the truth for the sake of a false peace.
Understand this my brethren, our Lord also told us that we should expect the hatred of the world because we belong to Him and as we obey Him, we will be an affront to those who do not belong to Him.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.” (John 15:18-23 ESV)
Now we have come full circle. Salvation is reconcilement to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Those who profess to be on “a way to salvation” that is “some other way” or after “some other Jesus” are actually showing that they hate the Father and do not possess eternal life nor will they ever unless they believe. These unregenerate people “of the world” hate the real Jesus and so hate those who are truly His and walk the narrow path as His disciples.
There is only one way to salvation not many. It is through the only Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Churches who compromise and foolishly go after peace with ‘other religions’ are proving their disingenuousness. What we must do is continue to stand firm and obey our Lord by rebuking all who claim to be of Christ, but who teach that which is not of Him and is contrary to what He taught. He is the truth and the Word of God is His gift to the Church in order to know His plumb line and to see clearly the way to go in our journey to end of this life to be with Him forever.
Soli Deo Gloria!