— Timely Topics
There seems to be a lot of talk these days about “tolerance” — of immoral lifestyles and of religious beliefs, in particular. What does the Bible say about how to reach heaven, and which God we should worship? Do Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God? How does one gain eternal life? Will those who sincerely worship, even if they worship a false god, be saved? These questions have often been asked throughout history, and are being asked more than ever in our day. The Bible has always had a clear answer, but many are not willing to accept it.
There is only one God. He is the Living God, the One revealed to us in the Bible. Islam worships one god, Allah, but this is not by any stretch of the imagination the same god as the One in Holy Scripture. Consider what God says of Himself:
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer the LORD of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God….Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. — Isaiah 44:6, 8
…for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me… — Isaiah 46:9
Religious Jews, to a degree, worship this Living God, if they worship according to Who God says He is in the Old Testament. However, Jewish people — even orthodox Jews — need to accept Messiah Jesus as their only means of salvation, just as everyone else must. It is not possible to achieve heaven through following the Law. God’s Word is very clear about this. (Read Galatians.)
In order to truly know Him, in order to obtain heaven, there is but one way — Jesus. And through Jesus, anyone — whether nonreligious, New Age, pagan, Muslim, Jew, or attender of a Christian church — can have eternal life:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. — John 14:6
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. — John 3:36
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. — I John 5:11, 12
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth….Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. — Acts 4:10, 12
So then, what must we all do in order to make certain that we are worshiping the true God in a way that is acceptable to Him? What must we do to get to heaven?
We must embrace Jesus Christ as our only hope of salvation:
…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…. — Acts 16:31
We must repent (be truly sorry for our sins and be determined never to do those wicked things anymore) and ask God to forgive us:
…Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. — Luke 15: 21 (the story of the prodigal son)
If you do not believe you have done anything bad enough to offend God, this is what He says about such an idea:
…There is none righteous, no, not one, and For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. — Romans 3:10, 23
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. — James 2:10
We must determine in our hearts that from this time forth we will serve the Living God, agreeing with His Word and obeying Him totally. Jesus must have complete Lordship over us. You see, too many times, people think that they can ask the Lord Jesus to forgive them and then keep on living any old way they want to. But that isn’t at all what the Bible tells us.
Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. — Matthew 7:21-23
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with [hatred toward] God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. — James 4:4
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. — 2 Corinthians 5:17
You need to “count the cost.” Are you ready to give Jesus everything–not only your sin, but your total allegiance from this time forth, as well? Jesus wants it all. He gave the best that He had–His very life–to save you. Salvation is a free gift, but He expects you to live for Him from that point on. It is the only way.
If you are ready to give your life to Jesus, here is a prayer to help you. (You don’t have to use this prayer–you can pray in your own words.):
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, and I know it. I am sorry, and I want You to change my life. Please wash me clean of all my sins, and make me new. I will not continue living in the old sinful ways. I will live for You from now on. Amen.
Now, if you have prayed that prayer, there are some things you should do to help yourself grow into being a strong Christian and to keep your relationship with God healthy:
Start reading the Bible everyday. Start with the New Testament and learn about Jesus first. If you haven’t got a Bible, get one. You don’t have to use the King James Version that I have quoted from. If you had some trouble understanding the quotes, get yourself a more modern translation, such as the New King James Version, or the Living Translation.
Pray everyday. If you don’t spend time talking with God, how do you expect to get to know Him? You wouldn’t neglect talking to your wife or husband, now would you? Not if you wanted to keep your marriage intact! Don’t neglect to talk with God, either.
Start going to a Bible-believing church, if you don’t already. If you don’t know what I mean by a Bible-believing church, write and ask me. email@example.com. Christians that don’t go to church start to get very weird ideas about the Bible, about what God is personally speaking to them, and about their “ministries” — honestly! You need other believers to keep you going in the right direction. You need a pastor to help you learn and to keep you accountable.
When you start attending that Bible-believing church, ask the pastor to baptize you. He will explain baptism to you. Baptism isn’t an option–God commands new believers to get baptized. If your pastor won’t baptize you, you are already in the wrong church!
Blessings to you! May you grow mighty in the Lord Jesus! I’d love to hear from you if you have given your life to Him.
Now, I hope I haven’t left anything out. For those of you who are Christians, and are scrutinizing this message to see if I’ve made mistakes or omitted something, your helpful comments are always appreciated and listened to. For new believers and those of you who are still not sure about whether you want to accept Jesus, if you have questions, please ask. I’ll do my best to answer you, or point you to someone who can do a better job of answering than I can.