It’s O.K. that you made different religions, but don’t you get mixed up sometimes? – Arnold (age 10)
Well, dear Arnold has been just as deceived as 98% (just an estimate not a fact) of the world’s population. Last I saw, there were over 10,000 separate distinct religions in the world today. Is it really logical that a God that is totally perfect – from eternity past to eternity future infallible – could make a mistake 10,000+ times over?
Surely, if all of the religions out there led to Heaven, God would be really contradicting Himself a lot. So many of these religions have conflicting doctrines and beliefs; so how can they be right? Some of them have to be wrong, right?
What is the definition of “religion” first?
1.) The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
2.) Details of belief as taught or discussed.
Synonyms: faith – belief – creed – denomination
Which ones are right and which ones are wrong?
When you consider this question, you have to think about what you would consider to be the “gold standard” of thought. What can you compare all else to that would be unfailingly right (correct)? How do you go about trying to figure that out? Wow, what questions…
Most people would boil it down to morals.
Q: Well, where do people get their morals?
A: Their parents and the people around them and they just figure right from wrong from there.
Q: Where would they have gotten their standards and ways of thought from?
A: What/who gave them the morals that they have now (or had)? And it goes down from generation to generation. Back to the beginning of time.
It all leads back to the first man and woman; and even before that. God is the only “gold standard” that you can look at that is totally unfaltering and unwavering and infallible and the only One that can be considered “perfect” without refutation.
Well, ok, if God boils down to being the only One that can be considered; then God it is. Now, how does He give us morals? How does He even talk to us? The way He talks to us is through the Bible. The Bible is the only history book ever written that has never had any contradictions to itself. There might be some oxymorons in there but when you get down to the original manuscripts and the true meanings of those texts, we find that they really don’t contradict themselves.
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
So, the Bible (God) gives us morals or at least He is the “gold standard” in which we can look to and compare anything else to find out if it is right or wrong.
The concept of “right” has been around since before creation because God is inherently “good”. So then, what is the source or beginning of “evil” or “sin” or “wrong” (all being the same thing)?
When Adam and Eve were created, they were originally sinless. They had never done anything wrong at that point. God told Adam and Eve that they could do anything that they wanted to do EXCEPT eat of the fruit of only one of the trees that were in the Garden of Eden. Out of all the different trees that were there, they could only NOT eat of ONE of them. Well, I think we all know human nature well enough that, eventually, when someone tells us not to do something, it only makes us want to do it even more.
Eve was in the Garden wandering around one day when she was approached by a serpent. This serpent was the incarnation of Lucifer (Satan, the Devil, etc). Mr. Serpent told Eve that she should eat of the fruit of the Knowledge Of Good And Evil which God had told them not to eat. Oh, the fruit looked so good. Mr. Serpent said “God only told you not to eat it, because if you did, it would make you just as smart as God. Now, you want to be as smart as God don’t you”? Well, Eve thought that that sounded pretty good. She wanted to be smarter, after all, Adam had been the one that named everything not her. She wanted to be as smart as God. She went to Adam and told him about the proposition that she had been given by Mr. Serpent and, with the lures that she had, tempted Adam and they both ended up eating from the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (**Color added for readability**)
Well, they sure knew Good from Evil at that point. They immediately knew that they had done wrong in the sight of God (yes, God saw them – He sees everything at all times-did then and still does today) and they realized that they were naked and they hid from God. Just like a parent playing hide and seek with their child, knowing right where they were hiding all along, God went looking for Adam and Eve.
One thing led to another and God threw them out of the Garden of Eden, never to return again. He took it a step, or really a bunch of steps further and cursed; the animals (primarily the Serpent); the land would, from then on, have weeds; woman would have pain in childbirth; and man would now have to labor. Couldn’t you just hate Adam and Eve about now?This story can be found in The Bible in Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:1-24. I’ll not post it here since it is rather long. I have a feeling that this post will be long enough as it is.
Right and wrong were conceptualized from that point on. It has been passed down from generation to generation and none were skipped. It went through Cain and Able, Jacob and Esau, Noah and the Ark (that God told him to build) and so on and so forth down to you and I now.
You know, life would have been a whole lot better now if Adam and Eve had not sinned. We wouldn’t have sickness or disease or have to pull weeds out of the garden and our wives would actually look forward to having children (just kidding ladies). I don’t think that we could really be able to imagine life in a perfect world.
I regress; we wanted to know about how many ways there were/are to get to Heaven.
Looking through the Bible, I have never read anything about any “religions” besides idol worshiping, maybe. Then to top it off, the idol worshipers in the Bible were always on the wrong side of God. God commanded that there be no other gods before Him and no graven images – idols. Well then, if “religion” isn’t the way to Heaven then how does it work out that we can all have the opportunity to go to Heaven?
The Bible tells us through history that there would be a “savior”*, someone to come to earth – a King that would deliver us from all oppression and the penalty for doing wrong. Oops! Did I not say anything about a penalty? Hummm. *There are many prophecies about that in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus’ coming to earth.
Looking through history, when someone did something wrong, there has always been a penalty. The first five books of the Bible are filled with rules and laws that God’s people were supposed to follow but, there, along with the laws are also the penalties for breaking the laws. Most of the penalties are really severe – the most severe was/is, obviously, DEATH! Yikes! That’s pretty bad!
Along with the laws and the severe penalties, God also made a way that they can have forgiveness by Him for their sins, restoring favor in His sight, or restoring their “friendship” so to speak. It used to be that the penalty was a sacrifice of a lamb but, we don’t seem to be doing that much anymore, right?
When God created us, He wanted to spend time with us (in our perfect state). He still wants to spend time with us, it’s just that there seems to be omething in the way. We have a barrier between Him and us. The barrier is called “sin”. While we are sinful we can’t be in God’s presence.
Isaiah 59:2 KJV
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
If you look at God as Light and Sin as darkness; when you bring light into a dark room, it is no longer dark. Light cannot be in the same place as darkness. The above verse indicates that God has hidden His face from you because your “iniquities” or the sins that are in your soul – all the way back to when we were born and started sinning to the present time.
John 8:12 KJV
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Romans 3:10 KJV
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”
Romans 3:23 KJV
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Being sinners, we are in need of a way to pay the penalty for our sins, which would be eternal death without a payment.
Mind you, I said Eternal Death. That is different than just death – being dead at the end of your life here on earth, buried and six feet under the ground. Eternal Death is what happens when we die and our soul continues on into eternity without any salvation.
Since sin cannot be where God is in Heaven, there is another place for sinners to go and that is ultimately into the Lake of Fire – a place where the fire never goes out and those there will be in excruciating pain but unable to just die and get it over with. Such PAIN and AGONY! They will have to stay like that for the rest of eternity.
Any idea how long eternity is? It Never ends! Eternal Death is separation from God – in the Lake of Fire. The alternative is eternity WITH God, in Heaven.
Matthew 25:30 KJV
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mark 9:42-48 NASB
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.
43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
44 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
45 “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
46 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
47 “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
48 “where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.”
Romans 6:23 KJV
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The alternate payment for our sins is only something that God can give. He gave His only Son so that we can have Eternal Life:
John 3:16 KJV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
His only Son’s name is Jesus. He came down to earth to live as a man. He was born of a virgin (Mary) – conceived of the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit). He lived a sinless life – unlike anything that anyone else could do. No one else has done it before or since. He did many miracles and cast out evil spirits (demons) and raised some dead people. He did things that only God could do. Because ONLY He is God. Only God could take our sins away or pay the penalty for our sins.
Jesus was crucified on a cross – one of the most excruciating deaths that they had for people in that day. When He went to the cross, He took with Him all of the sins of everyone that had ever lived and even all of the sins of everybody that would live from that day on. He paid the price, or redeemed us, from our sins. We were convicted of being sinners and sentenced to eternal death, and He, God, through Jesus Christ’s blood, paid the full price for our pardon. His blood was the only thing that could ever forgive our sins and remove them from the sight of God so that we can go to Heaven and so that we can have that continued fellowship with God.
Colossians 1:14 KJV
“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Psalms 103:12 KJV
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
Wait, it doesn’t end there. I know I am boring to listen to and I like to ramble on and on, but you have got to hear this. Jesus took it a step further because, you see, anyone could say that they are going to die and take away our sins but if it stops there, that person is no different than you or me and, in reality, couldn’t take away my sins or anyone else’s.
Jesus died. They buried Him in a tomb and three days later He was gone from the tomb. He rose from the tomb and was alive again. Not just any man could do that. Only God can do that.
John 20:11-18 KJV
11 “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 “And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne
him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 “Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
John 20:24-29 KJV
24 “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29 “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
A short time after He rose from the grave, He ascended back into Heaven. He stood and started raising into the sky until He couldn’t be seen any more.
Acts 1:9 KJV
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
Before He left, He promised that He was going to prepare a place in Heaven with Him and He would come back and get us and take us home to be with Him.
Wow, this is really starting to sound like an alien movie or something. I assure you that it isn’t. Have you ever read a book or story that was so crazy and outlandish that there was no way that anyone could have made it up? None of this story is made up and can all be corroborated from the Bible, as you can see by the scriptures listed.
John 14:1-4 KJV
1″Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”
John 11:25-26 KJV
25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this”?
1 John 5:12-13 KJV
12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
If God went to all the effort to make a way available to us to get to Heaven through His Son, why would He let there be more than one way to get to Heaven? Let’s take a look at some of the things that Jesus said while He was still on earth:
John 14:6 KJV
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 10:9 KJV
“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 8:24 KJV
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
John 1:12 KJV
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
John 3:36 KJV
“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.”
Revelation 20:15 KJV
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 3:20 KJV
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
You know, God made it so that there was only ONE way to get to Him for one reason and one reason ONLY!
That reason is that “man” has a real bad problem with pride. So much so that, if it were possible, we would do anything and everything that we could to be able to get to God/Heaven by doing any imaginable thing, such as: going to church, donating money to charities, volunteering at the homeless shelter, being baptized (yes, that’s what I said – I’ll touch on that in another post), becoming a missionary to another country to propagate a “religion”, being a pastor or employee in a church, being born/raised in a Christian home, and the list could go on and on.
Why are these things so bad? They aren’t. But none of them together or by themselves will do anything to repay the debt we owe to God for our sins. Many of the “religions” out there today will try to lead you to believe that one or more of those things are required for salvation. NOT TRUE!
The reason that He made it impossible for us to do special things to get to heaven is very simple – and if you try to make it more than that, you are trying to legitimize and justify your own well-doings – God wants ALL of the credit for you getting to Heaven. He wants you to go there because you love Him; because you would give your life to be with Him and to make Him pleased with what you do (for Him). He wants us to give Him the glory for the things that He has done for us, not for the things that we do to try to get to Him by earning His good favor.
Someone once explained the difference between “religion” and “true Christianity” as this: True Christianity is God trying to get to us, whereas, Religion is us trying to get to God.
The people that tried to build the tower of Babel in the Old Testament were trying to make it so high that it would reach God. Remember that that was when God got very upset with them and scrambled their words (creation of different languages) so that no one could understand each other (hence the word babel). The tower was destroyed as will anything else be that we use to try to get to God.
Isa. 64:6a KJV
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness (good works) are as filthy rags”
Romans 5:8 KJV
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Romans 10:9-10 KJV
9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you have never received God’s gift of salvation before today, I trust that you won’t hesitate to do it now. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, nor for that matter, another breath. Take care of this ASAP! Hell is a very real place and I’d really hate to find out someday that you had the chance to receive His gift and didn’t take it.
If you would like to receive God’s free gift NOW, please pray the prayer below and let me know that you did so that I can rejoice with you for your new-found hope (promise) of ETERNAL LIFE. I would really love to hear from you by email to let me know of your decision. My email is listed at the bottom of the right hand column of this page, please write to me.
“Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner and I know that I don’t deserve to go to Heaven. But, Your Word says that if I ask You to forgive my sins that You will forgive me and let me become Your child so that I can go to Heaven. Lord, I ask You to forgive my sins, right now, and take them away. I want to become Your child so that I can please You and so that You can become my best friend. Lord, thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins to take them away and to enable me the right to become Your child and go to Heaven to spend eternity with You. Thank you for forgiving my sins, Lord. I ask you this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.”
Christian, new or old, thank you for reading this far. I will be posting follow up articles relating to different things that the Bible teaches us and what it tells us that we should/n’t believe and do. Become a reader/follower at the top and keep up to date on my postings. You can also keep up to date by subscribing to my updates via email on the right side of the page as well.
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©2012 Mark Davis