Believing something sincerely does not make that belief right. In our modern American culture that praises tolerance and acceptance above truth, many people think that every religion can be right and that there are in fact many roads to heaven. According to this mindset that does not want to offend anyone, what really matters is the sincerity of a religious person, not the actual things that their religion teaches. Sadly, this mentality is even embraced by many professing Christians. The devout Muslim or Jew, for example, shares the Christian’s belief in one God who is good and powerful and holy, as well as the belief that this God has given us moral standards by which we should live. It’s called “ethical monotheism.” Buddhists promote clean living and right thinking, and Hindus believe in doing good deeds. So, can’t it be true that people of different faiths can go to heaven by simply being more good than bad and believing sincerely in their religion’s teachings, as many Americans think?
According to the Bible, the answer is “No.” As we have seen in our study of Romans, the truth is that only the Jesus of the Bible can solve the universal problem of our sinfulness, which separates us from the holy God of the Bible who created us. Only by receiving forgiveness of sins and new spiritual life through a personal faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can a person be reconciled or made right with our Creator. Every other religion, including the dedicated Pharasaical Judaism that Paul was raised in, seeks to establish a self-centered righteousness based on the works of sinful man (Romans 10:3). Only biblical Christianity offers a righteousness that comes from believing in someone who is without sin, the perfect God-Man, Jesus (Romans 10:4). As God, Jesus has the power to save people from their sins, and as man, He was able to take our place on the cross and die the death we deserved as our substitute. No other religion teaches that God saves us; every false religion focuses on people trying to save themselves, which will always fail. That’s why Paul was so burdened for His Jewish brethren who had rejected Christ (Romans 10:1). He knew that though they were sincere and had great “zeal” or passion about their beliefs, they were sincerely wrong and would not be saved without turning to Jesus (Romans 10:2). In the same way, we as Christians should remain firm in our conviction that Jesus is the only way to heaven and be burdened for the souls of people we know who don’t share that belief. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. We should pray and labor to help these lost friends and family members to meet the Way, the Truth, and the Life – the Jesus of the Bible that we know and follow.
The Text (Romans 10:1-4)
10 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Questions to Think About
- Do you know any people who think that many different religions can lead a person to heaven if the person is just sincere in their faith? Did you ever believe that way in the past? What makes that wrong belief so popular with Americans today?
- Have you ever thought about why the Bible teaches so strongly that Jesus is the only way to heaven and a relationship with God? Have you ever tried to explain that truth to a lost friend or family member? How did they respond?
- How does today’s post strengthen your own faith in what you believe as a Christian?