Jesus, the only Way

(Dean Schmucker) #1

Here is something I wrote a while back. I am wondering if I’ve gone too far. Any comments?

But if ye had known what this meaneth, ‘I will have mercy and not sacrifice,’ ye would not have condemned the guiltless. Mt. 12:7

But go ye and learn what this meaneth: ‘I will have mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."” (Mt 9:13 KJ21)

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Ho 6:6 KJ21)

Lately these verses have been on my heart. Recently, my daughter asked why only the Christians should go to heaven. In her mind, good people go to heaven, and evil ones don’t, no matter what their religion. I explained to her that, in the end, God decides who is good. If man would be good in God’s sight, God has shown us the way. Is that way Christianity? No, for before there ever was a Christian religion, God revealed that "The righteous shall live by his faith (Hab 2:4).

Sadly, many who call themselves Christian will not be found in Heaven. Jesus Himself said so. But could the converse be true? Could those who do not claim to be Christian, yet who “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord thy God” (Micah 6:8) be saved, even if they have never even heard of Jesus? If they obey the Light that they know, I believe this is possible. None of the Old Testament saints had ever heard of Jesus, either, and many of them are named in the “Faith Hall of Fame” found in Hebrews 11.

Paul writes about having an eternal weight of glory in an earthen vessel. This way, there can be no confusion. The Glory belongs to God, of course. I believe in the end what God is looking for is broken people who confess their need for His Life and eagerly invite Him to provide that life in them. Is this not the meaning of the first beattitude? A broken man, who acknowleges his need for God, is he not the man who is poor in spirit?

(Brittany Bowman) #2

Hey, this is a wonderful question. I’m looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts.

I hear two main points in your writing: whether God can save people who have never heard the Gospel, and whether all who say they are Christian will be saved. Am I understanding correctly? You may find this resource in the Resource Library helpful as you discern the first question.

It’s wonderful to hear of your heart to answer your daughter’s questions. Was this writing as part of a sermon or blog, perhaps a personal journal reflection? Connect is a wonderful place to bounce ideas off one another, and I admire your humility in seeking feedback from others. Looking forward to hearing more discussion.

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(Dean Schmucker) #3

Yes, this was from my blog post a few years ago. Alas, I can’t access that link you posted, but I’m sure you made a good case.

(SeanO) #4

@manbooks I think one nuance you may have overlooked is that Jesus is life so all who find life must find it in Him, even if they do not know His earthly name. There is no other way.

Acts 4:8-12 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’[a]

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

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(Brittany Bowman) #5

Sorry about that. Does this link work better?

(Carson Weitnauer) #6

Hi @manbooks,

One mentor of mine, when I was thinking through this question, challenged me with a perspective I hadn’t considered at the time. Here’s how I would phrase his thoughts today:
From our perspective, the dilemma is why anyone is not saved.
From God’s perspective, the dilemma is how anyone could be saved.

These lines stuck with me because they reveal a few different insights. For one, I think there is a theme of entitlement in our hearts. Anyone can tell you what they deserve. Few will tell you what they owe.

Second, the statements also acknowledge God’s desire to save us, because God loves us. But the challenge is - we don’t love him! We don’t obey. We actively rebel. We do love other gods. How, given our free will, can God save us, when salvation requires repentance, a new heart, and a new love for God? How can justice be maintained and forgiveness extended? This dilemma points to the cross and resurrection.

Finally, I think this is an empathetic way of putting it - without allowing our initial perspective to be the dominant one. We do reason our way through the challenge, but part of the reasoning process is to acknowledge that God is authoritative. Our minds can lead our wills to a place of humble submission to the Lordship of Christ.

(Dean Schmucker) #7

Indeed, the salvation question must be theocentric in focus. Why should anyone, at any time, or culture, ever be saved? The only answer is He will show mercy to those he chooses. But no one has a right to be saved. To quote the famous hymn, I know not why God’s grace to me he hath made known , , ,

(Dean Schmucker) #8

No link?

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(Brittany Bowman) #9

Sorry, I wasn’t very clear. I changed out the link in my original post!