Many people are passionate about what they believe. But does being sincere about what you believe make what you believe true? This is an important issue to resolve because where a person spends eternity will rest on the truth of what a person believes.
Regrettably, no matter how passionate or sincere a person is, they can be sincerely wrong in what they believe. Sincerity doesn’t make truth. Faith is no more valid than the object in which it is placed. The real issue is the question of truth.
For example, Islam and Christianity are very similar in the moral and ethical realms, but the two faiths are diametrically opposed on the crucial question: “Who is Jesus Christ?” Islam denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the savior. Both faiths cannot be true on this issue. One is correct; one is incorrect. For the Christian, if Christ is not the Son of God and thus the only way to know God, then our faith is worthless.
Christians are often considered as being bigoted, prejudiced, or presumptuous when they say that Christ is the only way to God. But actually, Christians have no other option because Jesus Christ Himself has said this (John 14:6).
The Bible tells us that God loves us and wants us to be with Him (John 3:16). However, there is a problem. The problem is sin. Because God is Holy and Man is sinful, there is a great separation that exists between man and God. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, which is a spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to make it possible for us to spend eternity with God in Heaven. He came to give us eternal life (John 10:10). He died for our sins (Romans 5:8) and after dying for our sins, He was raised from the dead (I Corinthians 13:3-6! Because He paid the price for our sins, He can say that He is the only way to God (John 14:6). Because the wages of sin is death, someone had to die. (For a more in-depth presentation of God’s plan for your life, please visit www.greatcom.org/laws)
The greatest proof of the existence of God is His humbling Himself taking the form of a man and coming into human history. We can know that God exists, not only because of all the philosophical arguments, but because He came into human history as Jesus Christ and has given people the opportunity to know God personally. The supreme credential, of course, is the fact that He rose from the dead. This was recorded in by biblical authors through their eyewitness accounts (I Corinthians 15:3-6).
Because He has made the claims to be God, all who hear this news have to come to a point of deciding if what He says is true. To help determine the truth, you must ask yourself which of the four possibilities about Jesus Christ you believe. There are only four possible conclusions about Jesus Christ and His claims. He was a either a liar, a lunatic, a legend or the Truth. Let’s examine them for a minute.
Ask yourself if you believe Him to be a Liar? If you do, then you can’t also call him a great moral teacher or philosopher. That would be a contradiction of terms. If He knew He was lying when He claimed to be the only way to God, then He purposely misled many to eternal doom and damnation. Christians rest their entire eternal life on His claim that His death paid for their sins so that they could be in the presence of God after they die. If He lied, He really condemned them to eternal separation from God. That was not very moral, in fact, it was very wicked. Considering Jesus to be a great moral teacher was no longer an option when He claimed to be God and the only way to God.
Okay, so maybe you think that He was very sincere, and was just a lunatic. Perhaps you believe that He thought He was doing right, but He suffered from delusions of grandeur or something of that nature. The problem with this conclusion is that the clinical symptoms of paranoia do not fit with the personality characteristics of Jesus Christ. The poise and composure which He demonstrated while being arrested and rejected and then crucified are not characteristic of those who suffer from paranoid disturbances. Of course, if He was a lunatic then you still couldn’t call Him a great moral teacher for obvious reasons.
Then, there is the option that He could be just a legend and never really made the statements attributed to Him in the Bible. Perhaps, in your thinking, they were put in His mouth by over-enthusiastic followers in the third and fourth century. Thankfully, modern archaeology makes it difficult to maintain this theory. Recent finding confirm that the New Testament documents were written during the lifetime of the contemporaries of Jesus Christ. The authors were eye witnesses, so if the disciples were making things up, then others could refute them. On top of this, all of the apostles who allegedly made up this lie died a martyr’s death for this lie, except for John, who died in exile. Many people would die for a lie, if they believed it to be true, but why would someone die for a lie that they knowingly made up? Also, the development of an elaborate legend would have required a more significant time lag, where there would be no eyewitnesses to refute their claims.
So, you are stuck. Either Jesus is who He claimed to be, the only way to God (John 14:6), or Christianity is not a belief system worthy of following! It can’t be both, because they both can’t be true. Christ didn’t give you the option of believing Him to be a great moral teacher and to consider His Word, the Holy Bible, on the same level with other world religions. He claimed to be God, and the only way to know God. Either He is who He claimed to be, in which case, you better embrace Him, or He is a very wicked person who has helped to condemn many to hell and thus not worthy of our belief. Which do you believe? Was He a liar, a lunatic, a legend or was He the Lord that He claimed to be?
Yes, God absolutely loves the whole world, and it is not His will that any perish. That is why we have the web pages to present the claims of Christ and the truth of God’s Word (http://www.whoisjesus-really.org). Although it appears to be exclusive, it is the most inclusive religion around because it encourages all to have a friendship with the living God of the universe, regardless of their race, status or culture. However, there is no way to earn your way to heaven by your good works (Ephesians 2:8,9). He is exclusive in the way that you can know Him. He is a Holy God, and man’s sin has to be dealt with (http://www.greatcom.org/laws)! We must each individually receive Jesus if we are to become His children (John 1:12).
Although you may be passionate and sincere about what you believe, it is important to determine if what you believe is truth. What you believe will decide whether you will spend eternity separated from God or in His presence. Please don’t be afraid to examine what you believe.