SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
There is only one way to peace
with God – through His Son Jesus
Key Verse: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6
There is no way to be faithful to the Holy Scriptures and at the same time agree that one may find peace with God through any religion other than the Christian faith. It is blatantly dishonest for a Christian to believe that there are many pathways to God in addition to that of trusting Jesus as Savior.
There is only way to reconciliation with God the Father and that is to come to him through the mercy offered by Jesus His Son. That is why Christianity is not a set of beliefs but basically a relationship to Jesus Christ.
If our faith could be boiled down to a list of beliefs, then we could compare them to the beliefs of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, or others, and then choose the one we liked the most. But becoming a Christian is not a matter of evaluating the religions of the world and choosing Christianity. It is a matter of acknowledging Jesus as the one who died for our sins so that by surrendering to him we could receive God’s forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.
Buddhists, and adherents of other religions, may be sincere, sweet, kind, loving, and generous, but they are still lost so long as they refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Is that harsh and discriminatory for Christians to believe? No, it is simply agreeing with what God says in the Bible.
But wait, some may say, is not the Bible simply one of many “sacred books” of the world’s religions? No, it is not. The Bible is the one book that explains the true God’s plan of salvation for all people.
That is why John Wesley called himself “a man of one Book,” that book being the Bible. The Bible is in a category all by itself for it is, hands down, the greatest book ever written.
Is this biblical idolatry? Is this worshipping the Bible instead of God? No, it is simply embracing the truth. God speaks through his book. Indeed, the Bible is the Word of God. Once this truth is accepted, then the words of William Temple will echo in our minds convincingly: “If Jesus Christ died for any man anywhere, then he died for all men everywhere.”
Persuaded that this is true, no genuine disciple of Jesus can ever rest until the gospel is proclaimed to “all men everywhere.” We can never again embrace the juvenile idea that if people of other religions are sincere in what they believe, God will save them for all roads lead finally to God. I would ask those who believe this one question: What part of “No one comes to the Father except through me” do you not understand?
Some will say that does not seem fair of God. And so it might appear. But are we in a position to tell God what is fair? Hardly! He is the Creator and Sovereign God of the Universe. We cannot counsel God! He has created us in his image and explained in His Book that he expects us to love and obey him. He decides what is fair and just. And he has made His Son the Judge of all creation.
The words Jesus spoke to Thomas and the other disciples were shared out of compassion for them. Even though he knew how he would suffer, his concern was more for them than for himself. His words comforted the disciples. And they comfort us whenever our hearts are troubled.
In more than 700 funerals I have shared Jesus’ comforting words with grieving families. And I never weary of sharing them for they calm the troubled heart and offer hope when we are standing beside an open grave. Most important, what Jesus said is true. Repeatedly I have seen Christ keep his promise to comfort those who refuse to let their hearts be troubled by the heartaches of life. He will never leave nor forsake those who call upon his Name.
While breath remains in us, let us continue to make known the good news that salvation is available to all who will come to Jesus. Our message is not complicated. The gospel is not ambiguous. The living Christ has commissioned us to go and tell the world that there is a way to God and that way is Jesus. The words of John Stockton’s hymn come to mind:
Come, every soul by sin oppressed,
There’s mercy with the Lord;
And he will surely give you rest,
By trusting in his word.
Only trust him, only trust him,
Only trust him now;
He will save you, he will save you,
He will save you.
And he will! Praise God for showing us the way to abundant life as well as the way to heaven!