Psalm 96:1-9; 1 Kings 8:14-21; 2 Corinthians 11:1-6
People want to know that things are right between them and God. No one wants to walk around knowing that God is mad at them, right? What has happened in recent years, though, is that rather than seeking to follow God’s way as shown in the Bible, humans have declared that it doesn’t matter what you believe, just so long as you believe. A devout Scientologist, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Hindu, or member of any other religion must be in good standing with God because they believe in a god or gods, and that’s what’s important. They try to live right, so things must be ok with God.
People have long thought that God should accept our attempts to worship Him and find Him no matter how different from God’s ways those attempts may be. They will criticize others for not being open enough to others, but often start demanding that others follow what they have done. Paul dealt with that problem often. “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)
In this situation Paul is lamenting the ease with which the Corinthian Church accepted false teaching and rejected the truth of the Gospel. There are many Christians today who share the same belief that Paul’s adversaries believed. They are willing to be open-minded and inclusive of all sorts of beliefs because those people with those other beliefs are good people and should be respected. There is no doubt that people who have a different faith system may be good people compared to the rest of the world. Many of my friends who have rejected Christ are wonderful people. That being said, just as in Paul’s day, there is still only one way to be reconciled with God and that is through believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Yes, that belief is narrow-minded. I will gladly wear that label. I just can’t imagine a God who would send His Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin turning around and saying, “but if you believe something else, that’s ok too.” When we accept a “different gospel” which is really not a gospel at all, we fail to give people who follow that belief system a chance to become reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Our responsibility as Christians is to let those good people, and the bad people, know about Jesus Christ. We must share the message of grace and forgiveness with is available to all people. We must share the message of reconciliation that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Him.
Dear Risen Lord, there is no other that has risen from the dead. You alone have the way of being reconciled to God. I pray for good people in other belief systems. I pray that You would show them Your love, which is available to all, Your grace, and Your mercy. Draw them to Yourself.