My Way or the High Way?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2 comments

by Bill Seng

“There are billions of people out there who have never read the Bible, don't practice Christianity, yet still know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.”
“And it's far more sad when people do have the opportunity to hear about Buddha and STILL reject it. And it's far more sad when people do have the opportunity to hear about Ra and STILL reject it. And it's far more sad when people do have the opportunity to hear about Zeus and STILL reject it…Do you sense a pattern here?”
“… you do certainly come off as arrogant when you say: 'There can only be one God and that is my God.'
That flies in the face of the other 6 Billion people on this planet that have other religious affiliations or no affiliation at all.”
~Anonymous Blogger

Is salvation a matter of “my way” or the “high way”? Do we have a relationship with God based on our own terms or does God have a standard with which we must first comply? This anonymous blogger, aside from rejecting God, questions the fairness of God according to Biblical standards of how we can have a relationship with him. So is it a matter of salvation through my way or the high way?

Is there only one way to God? Is the only exclusive way to heaven through his Son, Jesus Christ? What about the people who have never heard about Jesus Christ in their lifetime? Aren’t there many good people in the world who have never heard of Jesus that deserve to go to heaven? What about children that do not understand the Gospel message? What is their fate in the afterlife?

There is no simple answer to these questions and frankly, during a meeting where my fellow bloggers and I were gathered, I guarantee you that although there were 8 people in the room it felt like there were 9 because that’s about how many different opinions were expressed while we were discussing this topic. In other words, it does not have a simple answer. But let me highlight some points to consider concerning this debate.

First of all, in the Bible Jesus clearly says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If you are a Christian, you must submit to the fact that Jesus stated very clearly he is the only way to heaven or to the Father, as he puts it. The way that I read this statement it can only be taken one way: if you die and have not accepted Jesus, you will not go to heaven. John 3:18 (also the words of Jesus) states, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” I think that the Bible is very clear on that topic. The book of Romans provides Scriptures that elaborate on this subject, but I am going to save these insights for our upcoming Romans series.

Regarding those who would be considered “good” by human standards, I still think that such a person is condemned if they have not received Jesus even if they have not heard about him. Although someone might appear to be a good man or woman, human standards are not the standards by which God holds us. That might sound harsh, but that is because we are so utterly depraved in our thinking that we truthfully cannot grasp God’s ideals, which is why he gave the law to Moses. After mankind originally sinned, God judged the world and made a covenant. As he was promising never to send a global flood again, he stated: “Every inclination of his [mankind’s] heart is evil from childhood” (Genesis 8:21). We have a problem starting with our core that we are born into sin and truly cannot overcome that sin nature on our own will. But what about infants?

There are answers to this question that are rooted in pure theology, but I will instead approach it from strictly a Scriptural perspective. I have heard it mentioned that there is an age of accountability before which God essentially does not hold you accountable for your sins. I used to think that there was a Scriptural basis for it rooted in the Old Testament law, but have been unable to find it. The only Scripture reference that I truly see about children that might not understand the Gospel is 1 Corinthians 7:14. Paraphrasing, it implies that children are “made clean” through their believing parent. Nonetheless, there must be some sort of age of accountability because every adult is responsible for accepting or rejecting Christ. But do all children go to heaven? Some people would make the case that Matthew 18:10 is evidence that all children go to heaven. Jesus stands a child in front of a crowd and states, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). Is that what this statement is really saying, or does the context give a different message? I will leave that up to debate.

Ultimately we have to trust that God is just. We do not know the hearts of everyone around us and even those who might appear to be devout Christians may one day be proven to be frauds, posing as Christ-followers for their own benefit. As Ravi Zacharias said, on the Day of Judgment, there will be surprises. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) and “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

If God is so good, why has he only provided one way to go to heaven? This question from our skewed human perspective might seem reasonable, but it neglects a very serious reality. And that is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In other words, NOBODY DESERVES TO GO TO HEAVEN. EVERYONE DESERVES TO GO TO HELL. Not my way, but instead the High way. Thank God that he has provided A way!


Anonymous said...

"Ultimately we have to trust that God is just."

"We do not know the hearts of everyone around us and even those who might appear to be devout Christians may one day be proven to be frauds, posing as Christ-followers for their own benefit."
If we can't know the hearts of fellow humans, then why do you presume that we can know the heart of a super-powerful supernatural being?

William Seng said...

LOL, I don't mean to be too trivial, but we have to trust that God is just because the Bible tells us he is. Tada!

But the reason I simplify this point so much is because you are absolutely right, how can we presume to know the heart, and I will add the mind, of a super-powerful supernatural being. The truth is that by our own insights and power, no matter how smart we are, we cannot know the heart or the mind of God, let alone figure out who God is.

The word I am leading up to is Revelation. Revelation is God revealing himself. There are several types of revelation, but the revelation I am talking about is special revelation. This is God disclosing himself in a very specific and personal way. Types of special revelation I can think of are personal experience, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and the Bible itself. This of course is why I say, "Because the Bible says so," in this instance because we could just as easily conclude that God is evil by looking at some of the atrocities that happen in our world. To explain what I mean concerning God's justice would take a lot longer than I would like to take right now. But, let me know if you want to discuss that.