Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Different religions; different roads

All roads lead to God don't they?

Christianity is different from other religions. In every other religion you are required to do something for God. In Christianity God has done something for you.

All roads don't lead to God. Remember those puzzles we used to do as children, where a jumbled maze of lines had many entry points, but only one led to the prize? Some of the lines came very close, only to veer away at the last moment. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talked about a broad road that led to destruction which had many people on it, and a narrow road that leads to life which only a few find.

Jesus is very exclusive. "I am the way the truth and the life;" he said, "no one comes to the Father, but by me."

Note that it is to the Father that Jesus is taking us. In John's gospel we read, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." If Jesus is the one and only son of God, how can we become children of God?

The answer is simple; He adopts us.

People have favorite chapters in the Bible; among mine are Ephesians 1 and Romans 8. In both Paul writes of our adoption as sons. "In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ." and "We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons."

Unadopted roads soon become shabby as lack of maintenance leads to puddles and potholes. Adopted roads are well maintained and you reach your destination safely.

Some complain that this is too exclusive. What right has he to hide this road from the great mass of people who take the broad road? But the entrance to the narrow road is not hidden. It is not a concealed entrance, it is as plain as can be. Goodness me there are crosses everywhere! It is not hidden, but it is very low and you have to stoop to get through. All it requires is to get down on your knees and recognize that there is nothing you can do to save yourself. Then accept it; it is a gift.

God is not willing that any should perish and He has done everything necessary to save everyone. This is not like the Titanic where there were not enough lifeboats, and it is not a case of women and children first, though in many churches it seems like that. But He will not force anyone into the lifeboat. If you prefer to swim for it on your own He will just warn you that you will not make it; if you escape the sharks, the freezing water will get you.

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