Should we be tolerant of people of other faiths?
In our society, it is political incorrect to say no. Our churches go out of their way not offend anyone of another religion.
I believe in being respectful of others beliefs, but I do not believe in sidestepping God=s truth to do it.
The Bible clearly sets forth the guidelines for obtaining eternal life.
We must be Born-again. We must accept that Jesus, God=s sinless, blameless Son, died on the Cross for us. He took our sins--past, present and future--on Himself because God required a pure, perfect sacrifice for our sins. That=s Jesus.
Jesus didn't stay dead. No, He was raised from the dead on the third day. Then He ascended into Heaven. Today He is at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us.
Until we have accepted what Jesus did and confessed Jesus as Lord, we are not Born-again. We will not go to Heaven when we die.
By bending over backwards to accommodate other people=s faith, we are essentially saying that we are okay with them going to hell. We are allowing them to head down a wrong path without even warning them of the upcoming danger.
I am not saying we should shove our faith down anyone's throat, but I am suggesting that we make it clear what we believe and why we believe it.
Why do we believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven? Because the Bible says so.
Why do we believe the Bible? Isn=t it just a book with words written on its pages like every other book? How many other books do we know that are God-inspired? Every word of them? The Bible is God-inspired (II Timothy 3:16). The men who wrote the books of the Bible were just God=s secretaries, writing down what they heard God say.
Now if we accept what God said in His Word, then we have our basis for how we gain eternal life. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
We have to settle it in our minds. We have to know this as the truth. Then when we encounter a person who says, "Don't all roads lead to the same place? Can't a person be a Buddhist or Catholic and still end up in Heaven," we will be able to answer them.
If we believe what the Bible says, which I do, then no. Jesus is the only Way to the Father, to eternal life, to Heaven. On Judgment Day, if we do not come to the Father through Jesus (John 6:44), we will be told that He never knew us. We will be utterly cast out. Those who don't believe that can wait until Judgment Day to find out for themselves.
Some others say, "Well, I'm a good person. I will make it into Heaven on my own."
How many good deeds do we have to do to get into heaven? 500? 1000? 1,000,000? The truth is that we cannot be good enough to go to Heaven of our own volition. Our righteousness, our good deeds, are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). They are worthless. Only Jesus' shed blood can make us righteous, put us in right standing with God.
Yet others still believe that if they follow every rule and every regulation of their religion, they will be saved. Unfortunately, they are expending a lot of energy with nothing guaranteed in return.
No, the only way to the Father is through Jesus. He is the only way, the only guarantee, we have of going to Heaven when we are done here on Earth.
People are going to argue with us. It is only natural, but we cannot allow their beliefs to shake ours. We have to know what we believe and why we believe it before beginning a discussion with someone of another faith or belief. Otherwise, as James says, we will be tossed around by the wind because we are double-minded, unstable in all our ways (James 1:6).
What do we say to people who are convinced that the Bible is balderdash and not relevant to our modern times? Ask them if they have ever read it. Usually people who say the Bible isn't relevant haven't read it. They haven't experienced the power that comes from reading the Bible in a translation they understand and applying it to their lives.
Dare them to pick a topic in the news, then together look up that topic's central message in a concordance, perhaps even one online.
For example: Paris Hilton went to jail. Why did she go to jail? She broke probation. Why was she on probation? For driving recklessly. What does the Bible say about all this? Although it doesn't mention Paris by name, it does tell us to obey the laws of the land, meaning the state or country we live in (Romans 13:1-7 NLT).
The Bible is as relevant today as it always has been. And will continue to be in the future. Challenge anyone who doesn't believe this to read the Bible for themselves with an open mind.
We will always encounter people of different faiths. We will always encounter those who claim not to believe in God, but our choices are to influence them or let them influence us.
We should let them know what we believe. If they try to argue, let them know what the Bible says. If they don't accept it, we should walk away because we are wasting our time. We are casting our pearls upon the swine (Matthew 7:6). Eventually, if they have not hardened their hearts, God will open their hearts and minds to Him.
We need to be respectful of others' faith, but we don't need to let it shake our own. By respectful, I mean don't say anything bad about their faith. Don't bad mouth it. Don't criticize it. This will only cause the person to get defensive.
We must be respectful, be firm in our beliefs and pray for God to help us minister those of other faiths, so they may know the truth as we do.
Annagail Lynes is a published author, pharmacy technician and starting her business as a life coach.
To follow her weekly e-newsletter, go to coachannagail.com
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