I was on a blog recently that was discussing the new pope Francis and his new approach towards the poor and towards people groups and religions that may not have been as friendly to the Roman Catholic Church as in the past. Pope Francis as pretty much all popes in recent times has made it his goal to seek unity of the faith with all religions in the world. This got me thinking about a very important question that most people get wrong, biblically speaking.
Is Everyone on Earth a Child of God?
This question should be straightforward for your average Christian but unfortunately it isn’t. Many people are confused between the love of the world and God’s love.
Invariably, as one launches into this discussion with someone who would argue that God loves everyone and so everyone is a child of God will quote John 3:16-17.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Someone reading that will say, ‘you see! God loves everyone so everyone is his child…’ Not so fast however. If we keep reading in John 3:18 we read the following:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Ok, so everyone isn’t saved. Everyone isn’t free from condemnation. Only those who believe in the Son of God. In fact, in John 14:6 we read a very controversial statement of Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the only way to salvation. Nothing else will do. Not a lifetime of good works. Not committing suicide while killing infidels. Not through regular church attendance. Not through giving every last cent I own to the poor. None of these things earn us salvation. The only way anyone is going to be in heaven is because they have a faith relationship with Jesus. Consider the following words found in John 14:23-24
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
Not only must we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we must also keep his word. Let him live inside of us and direct our life. Surrender ourselves to His leading and living in and through us. This goes far deeper than simply mental assent to the fact that Jesus is real or that he died on the cross for me. Each one of us must allow God to drive home the impact of what He has done for us. Surrender to his leading. Acknowledge our own lack. Our own great need. See God including Jesus as the source of all life. The One we are all searching for. The great desire of our hearts.
Everyone CAN be saved…
Everyone can be saved. Jesus has opened the way through his death and resurrection. Will everyone be saved? Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t teach that. Over and over again Jesus taught exactly the opposite. Few will ultimately be saved and the majority will be lost.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13-14
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
There is a world to warn. A God to fear. A wonderful good news to share. Most will not accept it. It sounds narrow and shortsighted to most humans. The idea that there is only one way to God is not something that the majority of humans will accept. This reality doesn’t make it less the truth.
Each of us must come to the place either that we believe the Bible or we believe our own sense of right and wrong taken from culture, our upbringing and what our friends and others think. I don’t know about you, I choose to follow the Bible.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic… Are you convinced that the Bible is our only standard for right and wrong?