Friday, January 24, 2014

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Deception: many paths to God

Deception: Beware of False teaching that there are many paths to God

          This is not meant to be an exhaustive study of the truth that there is but one path to God, but rather an elementary presentation that may encourage the reader to seek further to open the eyes of understanding through the word and the teaching by the power of the Holy Spirit. If one says that he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and yet also claims that there are many paths to God, he is deceived and makes Jesus a liar. There is only one true God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  “For there are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”  “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  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 Son of God. (I John 5: 7, 9 – 13) {The witness that the believer has within himself of course is the Holy Spirit which leads and guides us into all truth.  Without his witness and teaching, the word of God will be mere foolishness in the eyes of mankind.  The witness of Holy Spirit is available to all who will seek him.  It is he who draws and leads us to God the Father and God the Son.}  

          Take not my word, but look to the words of Jesus Christ himself.  Jesus teaches there is but one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS. (John 17: 3 - 7)  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him and, and have seen him. (John 14: 6)  “Then Jesus said unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”  “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  “As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I and my Father are one. (John 10: 7, 9, 11, 14, 15, 27 – 30)

Holy Spirit:   Jesus teaches about the Comforter (Holy Spirit) who will be sent to live in those who believe in Him as Savior and Lord. Jesus said -"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."  "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth;" (John 16:7, 13)

          People are always asking, “How could a loving God, send people to Hell?”  First of all, this is a round about attempt to again blame God for what we have done to ourselves; thus, attempting to remove the responsibility and consequences for what was our own choice.  Secondly, God did not create Hell for people, but for Satan and the fallen angels.  But if we reject God as they did, we must suffer the same consequences or God would be a partial and unjust God.   Thirdly, and a far more cruel action, is revealed in the following question: “ How could a loving God send His only Son to be brutally beaten beyond recognition, and hung on the Cross to die, for people who didn’t need a Savior, if there were already so many other paths provided to get to Heaven?”  Can we not comprehend the huge price that Jesus paid willingly to redeem us from sin and death in order to restore all who would believe to a right relationship with God the Father?  God has provided The Path, faith in His Son.  The responsibility to choose to receive the gift of salvation that He has provided is then offered to each and every individual.  It’s up to each individual to choose to believe and receive the gift of salvation, or not believe and reject the gift of salvation. It’s a simple as that.

          An airline tells you that there are two flights going to your desired destination.  They give you further information that one plane is going to crash, but the other one is going to take you to your desired destination without any problem.  If, after you are given that knowledge, you still choose to get on the plane that you knew would crash, how can you possibly blame the airlines for the outcome of the flight that you chose to take?  Does this not exemplify exactly what we do to God in trying to blame Him for ‘sending’ people to Hell? 

          Since the beginning of time, man has always been trying to blame someone else for the sin that they themselves chose to do.  When Eve was deceived by Satan, she chose to disobey God and ate of the fruit of the tree that He had told her not to touch.  God confronted her; she tried to blame the devil for her choice to disobey.  When Adam was confronted, he first tried to blame Eve by saying that she had given it to him, trying to shirk his responsibility for choosing to eat it. Even worse, he was really blaming God.  After all, wasn’t it God’s fault because He was the one that had created the woman and given her to Adam in the first place? 

          As a teacher, Each year, I placed a banner at the front of my classroom that taught a valid life lesson and greatly helped support good classroom behavior.  The banner simply stated: “You Are Responsible for You!”    I would take time to explain the meaning of the banner at the beginning of each year, presenting the information that I was only human and did not have eyes in the back of my head.  If someone was corrected for an infraction of misbehavior, they were NOT given the right to point out that someone else had also done thus and so.  If they committed the action, they were responsible for their own choices, and no one else bore the responsibility for what they had freely chosen to do.  The responsibility and consequences then fell only on the shoulders of the person who chose to commit the unacceptable behavior.   I would attempt to illustrate this principle by telling about a driver who was pulled over for speeding.  When confronted by the policeman, the driver did not have the right to point at all the others he believed to be speeding also.  No, he, and he alone, was responsible for speeding and; therefore, he alone had to pay the consequences for his actions.  Thus, students were given a clear picture to demonstrate the meaning of the words of the banner.  At appropriate times during the year, until the students had really gotten the message, I’d give a brief reminder about the speeder.  I also used this approach to get my point across.  If I had to reprimand someone for talking without permission, and they tried to point out that others had also been talking,  I would simply reply,  “Then isn’t it a good thing that you are only responsible for your choice to run your own mouth, and not have to pay the price for them also?”  After awhile, it was no longer necessary for me to repeat the words or their meaning.  All I had to do was point to the banner, the message was received, and there was no need for any further discussion, discourse, or argument.  A biblical lesson taught and applied, even in a secular school.  An example of proof that even unbelievers, who apply God’s principles, can derive blessing, benefit, and order in their lives even though they may not acknowledge the existence of the Creator of the principle.    

          Another popular argument used to oppose the belief of only one path to God, is the situation proposed by this question: “What about those who have never heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”  My first response would be to ask them, “Have you received the good news?  If so, then you alone are responsible for making your own choice to receive Him and the truth of His Word, or to reject Him.  If you do choose to receive Him, then you too are commanded, as a part of your commitment to follow Him, to go and tell others about Him, giving another the opportunity to choose to believe and follow Him as Savior and Lord. (Mark 16: 15)  As for those who may not have heard, scripture tell us that God has given evidence in all of creation so none have an excuse to deny His existence. (Romans 1: 19 – 20) (Psalm 14: 1)  God uses mankind as instruments to spread the good news of His existence, and the gift of salvation that He has provided and freely offered; however, He is not limited to dependence upon mankind alone.  For example, He has reached and revealed Himself unto many across the world through dreams and visions.  Who are you and I to question God or His ability to reach others?  First, our responsibility is to pray for others that they may come to know the Lord.  Secondly, we must be sure to tell others, with whom we come in contact, about Jesus as He leads and opens the door for us to do so. 

          Knowing such a wonderful and loving God should fill us with such joy that we would leap at the chance to tell others about Him.  We must not let the world intimidate, manipulate, or silence our voice, but we must depend upon the wisdom of the Lord to tell us when to speak and when to keep silent, for He has told us “not to cast our pearls before swine.”  We are responsible for taking the good news to others; we are not responsible for their response.  When Jesus Himself walked on the earth, He gave to many the invitation to come and follow Him.  Some gave up everything to follow Him willingly, while others turned and walked away.  If they chose to respond to Him with rejection, should we be surprised when others tell us, “That may be all well and good for you, but it’s not for me”?  You can’t drag anyone kicking and screaming to Jesus, or force them to come, follow, or believe.   That’s a lesson I have had to learn the hard way.  It’s difficult to understand why anyone would reject Him and not want to have anything to do with Him; however, you can continue to pray for them that they might have their eyes opened and turn their hearts to receive Jesus.  As long as there is breathe, there is hope, so we never give up praying. 

There is but one Path to God

          A driver was headed down a road that had many twists and turns.  At several intervals along the way, signs were placed with the warning: DANGER! BRIDGE OUT AHEAD.   Each time, an accompanying sign would direct him to a detour that was safe and straight.  He ignored the danger signs assured, in his own oppinion, that the winding road was the quickest and surest way to his destination.  After several occasions of being warned and directed to take the detour to reach his destination safely, he arrived abruptly at the point where the road ended and the bridge was out. Going too fast, no longer having a chance to escape the consequences of his choice, he drove over the cliff to his death and final doom.  This little story is an illustration of how God tries to reach out to each of us along the path of our life’s journey.  Even though His word is given to us to direct our path to Him, we, all too often, stubbornly insist on doing things our own way, rejecting every warning and correction He provides us along the way.  Yet, we blame Him and ask why He would allow such a thing to happen?  The blame for our ultimate demise and condemnation is upon ourselves for rejecting The Path that He has provided for our salvation and eternal life with Him.

Jesus teaches about the way to Heaven

“Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7: 13, 14)  “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: 12)

May the word of The Lord take root in our hearts that we may grow ever closer to Him each day as Savior and Lord.


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