Eventually, there are those who would question how God can accept people to Heaven when Jesus clearly says, “…I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father, but through me.” (John 14:6) I was just now reading Luke. I pictured John the Baptist’s parents in one location and Mary, mother of Christ not far away. Then, I remembered that Christ was teaching, preaching to, telling parables to Jews. They were the, “lost sheep of Israel.” Somewhere along the way, others were drawn in also.
I don’t know the history of Christianity that well. God needed to send Jesus and John the Baptist to right the path that many Jews had started down. Many were going down the wrong path with money lenders in the synagogue, hypocritical worship, social injustice and more. It is interesting that only John mentions the references that Christ made regarding going to Heaven through him. I am not saying that John was wrong. It’s just that for something so important, as far as how it is interpreted, more than one source really should be required.
That’s not what happened. Somewhere along the way, some men decided that because Christ said that in John – and no where else – that any person, any person EVEN IF THEY HAD NOT HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR ABOUT CHRIST could not get to Heaven without knowing Christ. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Prior to this, all native persons and all persons in all nations had the opportunity to reach Heaven. Interpreting that verse using the “modern” meaning only a very small number of people in Israel could go to Heaven. Imagine that God wanted that? He didn’t.
When I was 12, I asked my pastor if what he told me meant that Jews could not go to Heaven. He quietly said, “Yes”. My twelve year old very justice oriented mind said, “No, that’s not right.” I said that in my head, not out loud to my pastor. A few years later, had I had a chance to study the Bible – really study the Bible, I would have noticed that Jesus only talks about getting to Heaven through him in “John”. I would have known that Jesus was only supposed to preach to Jews. I would, perhaps, know that it took a concerted effort by Paul to go out and teach the Gentiles.
The early Christians had to work very hard, and their lives were often in danger. They were working to get Christ’s message out. The New Testament hadn’t been compiled yet. They were NOT teaching that the only way to get to Heaven was through Christ. I don’t think that the early Christians would have liked that statement. It was one thing to hear about Christ, his miracles, and all the wonderful lessons that he shared. To tell someone from the year 80-300 A.D. that you could only get to “your God” (make that your one true God) was through Christ, would not have worked. I truly don’t think that Christianity would have gotten going as well as it did with the “through Christ” stipulation.
Let’s look at what happened because both the “through Christ” and baptism clauses were in force when “Christian Nations” were conquering non Christian people. Often, after taking over a native nation, the natives were forced to “become” Christians. What power the church had.
This news needs to continue to go out:
- Pray to the one God: God the Father, Heavenly God, God in Heaven. Our Father
- Jesus taught us how to pray with The Lord’s Prayer. Pray every so often using all the components of The Lord’s Prayer (unless you pray a series of prayers always – the important thing is to cover all components)
- Forgive others. It’s too hard at times and this is why we do this with God’s help
- Follow the Ten Commandments
- Think of God as a “Father”. We bow down to him.
- Follow: Judge not lest thee be judged
- Lead a good life.
Just a suggestion: If you want to learn what type of person that God is looking for to go to Heaven (what to aspire to be), you can read about how Christ lived his life. Also, Jesus told many parables. You can also “Google” topics like: Jesus Christ, parables.
I purchased a tri fold laminated educational “Paper” about the books of the Bible. It has been helpful.