As we wait in line at our local Christian buffet, plate in hand, we take a look ahead at what we are about to consume. Some of the "food" we see looks really good. Smells good too. We can almost taste it and we begin to salivate in anticipation. Other selections look more like steaming piles of goo to us. They smell nasty and don't look quite so good. Yet it is all there for us to consume if we have a mind to. Such is the smorgasbord of religion we are being offered in the world today.
Christianity is just one of many belief systems we have here on earth. So, which one is the right one? How can we determine what is true and what is false? If one religion is right the others have to be wrong . . . right? Left?
Recently at a local Christian music festival I asked a random collection of Christians if their faith (Christianity) was the only way one could get to heaven. Their answers were all over the place. And despite Jesus himself telling us in John 14:6 that "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to Father but through me." nearly a quarter of all Christians I talked to believe there are other ways to arrive safely in heaven (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc). One person stated, "We all worship the same god." Another felt that if we all obey the same basic principals we ALL can go to heaven.
The Gods that the main faiths on this planet worship are NOT the same God. How did professing Christians come to believe this fallacy? I feel the blame falls on the churches from not preaching the gospel message often and clearly enough. The blame also rests on each of us moms and dads for not "training up our children in the way they should go" (Proverbs 22:6).
Then there was this story in the news. Apparently the pope is opting for the "everyone can go" theory - even athiests! Read his quote here:
Heaven For Atheists? from CNN. Scary.
Here's another question I asked of Christians at Lifest. "Do you think you're good enough to get into heaven right now?"
Eighty percent of those questioned answered "No." That's good. It sounds as if SOMETHING sunk in during church. Still, 20% felt like they were good enough or they hoped they were. I fear for them. There is no one that is good enough.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone." - Mark 10:18
The best answer was from a young man named D.J. who turned out to be the lead singer of a band named Interplaus. He answered Yes. But just as I was about to mark down his incorrect answer he added, "Yes, I am good enough . . . through the blood of Christ and what He did for me on the cross." Awesome answer!! This next passage from Romans speaks to D.J.'s answer.
"21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." - Romans 3:21-26
The final question I will cover in this post today is, "What is the gospel." That's a pretty basic question that ALL Christians should know about their faith. Right? We should ALL know the basics, The Gospel is found, written quite simply, in the book of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,"
Simple right? Yet only 1/3 of Christians I surveyed got it right. Many had good, Christian-sounding answers like "It's God's Word." No, God's Word is the Bible. What is the gospel? Or this answer, which I got a few times. "Matthew, Mark, Luke & John." No. Those are the GospelS, with an "s". What is the GOSPEL? The Good news? They didn't have a clue and that's rather sad.
To sum up this portion of my survey results, most knew they were not good enough on their own to get into heaven yet there were some who believed that they were. Most felt that all faiths lead to heaven despite Jesus telling us that there is only one way - through Him. And most did not know what the Gospel was - the very basis for their faith.
I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at these answers and I fear for the souls of these people who appear to be Christians in name only. I look back on MY faith walk and wonder, where did I learn the truth about the gospel, about getting into heaven and how I am a natural born sinner. I didn't learn them in Sunday School. I didn't learn them in youth group. I didn't even learn them from sitting in church. I learned them from spending time in God's Word and believing what it says.
Please watch this video by one of my favorite pastors. The Gospel by Eric Ludy. Thank you.