How Many Roads To Heaven Are There?


Don't you think it's a good question? I think it is. I think it's a question that every person must answer for themselves at some point, so I thought I'd explore it here a little bit.

It's been on my mind a lot lately because of all the New Age Oprah stuff going on. You already know how I feel about that.

When I was 30 years old, I found myself in the middle of my very first spiritual crisis. Among others, the question "How can Jesus possibly be the ONLY way to Heaven?" kept coming to my mind. Knowing that the Bible teaches that Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life...I knew I had to come to some sort of resolution on the idea. I had to accept it or reject it, and therefore come closer to making my decision about Christianity.

The idea that God would only provide one narrow path to Heaven was was one of the biggest obstacles to my fully accepting and totally investing in Biblical Christianity. I call it a crisis, because that's exactly what it felt like to me. Everything I thought I believed about Heaven, Hell, God, Jesus, Faith...and ME...was up in the air. Until that point in my life, I hadn't really investigated and questioned and decided for myself what my faith was all about (I'm sure the Catholic Priest who presided over my "Confirmation" would just love to hear that!).

To be honest, I didn't want to believe that Jesus was the only way. I wanted everyone to be able to go. I wanted everyone who just tried really hard to be a good person and to do good things and to help people...all of them...and everyone they loved...and maybe even their beloved dog...I wanted everyone to be able to go to Heaven.

And what about the people who die without even hearing about Jesus? How could there be only one way?

But I didn't understand the meaning of the word "Holy". I didn't understand the meaning of the word "Righteousness". I didn't understand God's very nature. I still don't fully understand, but I'm a bit closer. Close enough to know that not everyone and their dog can go to Heaven.

Well...they CAN...it's just that they can also choose not to.

Now, I don't know that anyone really sits down and says to themselves "No. I don't think Heaven is a good idea for me. I choose to NOT do the Heaven thing. I'll give Hell a try."

I think it's more like "No. I'm not interested in doing my life in any way besides MY way. I'm not interested in a God who would send me to Hell if I don't do it his way. I'm not interested in not doing some of the stuff in my life that I think feels pretty dang good. I'm not interested in really coming face to face with God and saying...'You're God and I'm not. I've screwed some things up here and I don't know how to fix them. Thank you so much for sacrificing for me to clear a path for me. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me. Show me how you want me to live."

It's hard to have that conversation. HARD. But it's also liberating, joyful, and just plain life changing.

I'm getting off point a bit here. So how many roads to Heaven are there? Before I say with certainty, let's look at who Jesus is. Could he be the only way?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is God (See John, chapter 1).

The Bible also tells us that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for humanity's sin. Do some substitution, and you get: GOD died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin.

Did that come through loud and clear?

God, Himself, died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin.

Given that fact, the only thing that I can think is this:

How CAN there be any road but through God's sacrifice?

How? How can a person do anything or say anything or think anything that is of equal or greater value than the Almighty Himself coming to earth to die a horrible death out of his love for us? And if it could be done by a mere man, then why would God do what he did? For kicks? No. He did it simply because it had to be done.

It had to be done, folks, because we can not do it. There is only one way and it is to accept what Jesus did on our behalf. What God did on our behalf.

Okay, so where does that leave the folks who never hear of Jesus before they die? Where does that leave the people who did hear of Him, but never really understood enough to make an informed choice? Where does that leave the people who are really great people, but never really commit to a faith in Jesus?

Honestly? I'm not the judge. HE is the judge because only he knows every one's situation, history, and heart. He is perfect. He is perfect in his ability to judge fairly. It seems confusing and hard...even impossible...to me. But that's because it IS impossible for me! I don't have all the information. God is perfect in his love for us. He is perfect in his knowledge of us. He is perfect in his ability to see our heart toward him. He is also perfect in his Holiness and Righteousness. He is the only one who can judge.

And what about Buddha? What about the Dalai Lama? What about Joseph Smith? What about enlightenment? What about finding heaven within ourselves? What about working really hard to live a good life?

I'm going to take a hard stand here and say...if it's not based on Jesus, then it's not going to lead you to eternity in Heaven. Jesus is THE way. Jesus is THE truth. Jesus is THE life. No one can come to the Father but through Him.

I can choose to accept Jesus.
I can choose to reject Jesus.
I can NOT choose some Jesus and some "other".

It's an all or nothing game here. To follow him or not. All the eggs in the Jesus basket...or none of them. By definition, you have to be totally committed...or not. You get to choose. But I just have to ask....

Really, what other choice is there? How can there be any other way?

Shelle  – (5/11/2008 09:58:00 PM)  

I choose his light also! Nice uplifting post! I just wanted to say I think Hell is not necessarily a place as much as what we feel because we are not with Him, our Father in Heaven, we are depressed and sorrowful without his light surrounding us, I believe that is what Hell will be for those that choose to live without that light...I don't know...just thinking...my OWN personal feeling! Thanks...came over from BLOGHER

Angela Williams Duea  – (5/12/2008 10:10:00 AM)  

EXCELLENT post! So glad I found you through Blogher.

I completely agree that the bible says we have salvation through Jesus. I get tired of people who say, "I can't believe in a God who (fill in the blank)." Usually their reason shows that they don't actually understand who God is and how he acts.

I believe that God can do whatever he wants, and that gives me hope for the people that haven't heard of Christianity. I believe that God makes some provision for them. As you said, we can never judge someone else's salvation - all we can do is talk about our own.

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