"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ whom You have sent.
A spirit of tolerance and pluralism
prevails in the modern American religious scene. To assert that your views are
right, suggesting that others are wrong, is considered the worst kind of bigotry, a total
breech of spiritual etiquette. Values are relative, morals are decidedly not in
vogue--in fact, the only thing that is widely agreed upon as wrong is a person who claims
to be right!
Unfortunately, a straightforward reading
of the New Testament, or even the briefest examination of the teachings of Jesus Christ,
flies in the face of such politically correct rhetoric. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I
am the way the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father except through me." Acts
4:12 states, "Nor is there salvation in any other , for there is
no other name [besides Jesus of Nazareth]
under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Further, the Word of God states
unequivocally that Christianity is right and all others are wrong, that other efforts at
understanding God, though sometimes well-intentioned, are nevertheless idolatry and the
worship of demons and fallen angels--God's enemies. Those who do not receive Jesus
Christ as their Lord and Savior are lost and, quite literally, bound for Hell when they
leave this life.
Even many Christians find this difficult
to accept. But it's what the Bible teaches, and if we claim to be Bible-believing
Christians, we must accept everything the Bible teaches, even if we don't understand it
completely. We cannot simply sift and sort through the teachings of Scripture, deciding
for ourselves what we will believe and what we will not--that is tantamount to designing
our own personal religion, proclaiming ourselves the final authority when it comes to
It is true that biblical Christianity
shares many of the moral values of other world religions. Mahatma Gandhi made the
statement that He didn't care whether Jesus actually existed or not--to him, the Sermon on
the Mount would still be the Word of God. Gandhi was a Hindu, but the values
expressed in Jesus' most famous speech appealed to him. But Christianity is much more than
a value system, or a set of morals to be followed.
Christianity is, at its core, a
relationship with a personal God. Morals and values, though important, are not the
crux of the matter. The real issue is, "do you know Jesus personally? are you
on speaking terms with God the Father? does He know you and accept you?" Look
again at our opening text from St. John, chapter 17... "this is eternal life, that
they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. This
is what it means to be a Christian. It's not about church membership or obeying the
Ten Commandments, or even loving your neighbor as yourself. The Bible indeed
demands these of us, but above all we must know God, personally. Morality, in
order to be truly Christian, must be birthed in a personal relationship with God, and
Jesus Christ, the Savior.
When you really believe in Jesus--that
He is God in the flesh, come to save you by His death and resurrection--and commit
yourself to that belief by repenting, deciding to change your heart and life around, then
the Holy Spirit comes into you and makes you born again, born from above. He imparts
a new spark of life in you that wasn't there before. You then have peace with God, the
assurance that your sins are forgiven and that you have been adopted into His family.
This is the relationship that saves, that keeps you from receiving the punishment
that you had previously faced, an eternity in the fires of Hell. Only those who know
God personally, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, will avoid that terrible place and
be ushered into Heaven.
Copyright © 1998
Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.