Half-Truth: There Are Many Ways To God & It Does Not Matter Which One
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are starting a new series today called Half-Truth. Over the next five weeks we are going to look at some popular beliefs in our culture that are half-true. They are somewhat right, but not fully. They contain an element of truth but in leaving out the rest of the truth it results in deception. Half-truths often lead us to embrace a whole lie. Over the course of this series we are going to examine some half-truths and this will coincide with some of our big feasts at this time of year.
Jesus said in the Ascension Thursday gospel: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” I believe this and yet some people may need more than these few words. We can start by saying a fundamental truth about Christianity: it is a good news! Not a philosophy or a set of laws or a list of commandments. It may help us to contrast it with bad news: death, war, poverty, sickness, broken relationships, and all this comes as a result of sin. We put things in place of God and as a consequence we suffer because sin is always death. Sin doesn’t make you bad; it makes you dead. And we have all sinned which leads to an insecurity about ourselves. This lack of being leads us to always want to prove ourselves and make a name for ourselves, but it backfires.
Since all of us have separated from God how do we correct that situation and get reconnect with God? This question is what most religions try to answer. However, there is a profound and fundamental difference between how they answer this question and what Jesus tell us. Every other religion teaches that performance is the answer. Be good and God will save you and get you into heaven. Christianity is totally opposite. Despite our weaknesses and sins God sent his Son to die and rise for us. He sent his Holy Spirit to make of us men and women who are no longer afraid, and have a spirit of love. It is not what we do but what Christ did and continues to do for us.
Many people say that there are many ways to God and it does not matter what you believe. It is true that many religions contain some truth about life and in some ways reflect God, and we can learn from them. But the whole truth is: there is only one way to God and that is through the person of Jesus Christ. This isn’t a popular statement and some may call it narrow minded. But we are not saying that Christians are superior or better but that Jesus Christ is superior, unique, and the Son of the Father. Jesus says, “I am the Way…” not I am one way to go to the Father. At Jesus’ Ascension he tells the disciples to proclaim this to the whole world and to every creature.
When I say there are many ways to God I am making the assumption that I can make my way to God, on my own. But when people do this, which is very common today, they miss what God has done for them. He became man for me; lived a life like mine in a small town, became a carpenter, suffered and died for me, and then rose from the grave so that I would not have to die. It is amazing what he has done for all of us. If there were many other ways to God why did he have to become man?
It does not mean that Christians are better than others, but it does mean that Christ is unique. There is only one way to God, not many. Let me tell you why it matters that you embrace this truth. When you really believe that he is the only way to God, your only salvation, your only hope to be healed, then you will see that you desperately need a relationship with him. It is not something you do in your leisure time; it becomes very, very personal.
Second, it matters because if we understand that there is only one way back to God then we should intensify my commitment to connect friends, family, co-workers to the person of Christ. If there are many ways to God, then it is ok if they go their own way. But if Jesus is THE Way back to God, then out of love for the people around us, it is vital that we introduce people to Jesus Christ.
I invite you this week to pray this verse from the gospel of John, 14: 6. Every day tell him, “Jesus, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through you.” Say it many times a day and it will change your relationship with him.