when i give a talk like i did last sunday about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as God and the only way to the Father and to salvation, invariably questions arise. they take a variety of forms, but they are all more or less the same, and typically start with the same three words: but what about…
but what about people who never hear about Jesus?
but what about people who were raised in a different religion?
but what about people who believe in one God, but call him (her, it) something different, like allah or something?
i understand the questions, i really do. they usually come from people who already love, believe in and follow Jesus. and as they study Jesus, they find him to be loving, non-judgmental and accepting. and aren’t we supposed to be like Jesus? and if so, how dare we condemn someone who doesn’t believe like we do? especially when they never get the opportunity.
there are a small handful of things i can say in response to this, but for today, i want to let some of those questions hang. i want to invite you instead to read, meditate on, and hang out with an important passage of scripture. read it now, and then think through the questions that follow…
colossians 1.15-20; 2.9
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
1. if God is God, and God can’t lie, how firmly can you believe in and hold to the truth of these words you just read?
2. if Christ is the ultimate revelation of God, and the new testament clearly claims that salvation is in no one else except Jesus (see Acts 4.11-12), what does that mean for all people?
3. does it make sense to suggest or maintain that one God would reveal himself in ways that absolutely contradict one another? (major tenets of some of the world’s best known religions are absolutely contradictory: for example, only christianity teaches that one comes to God only by God’s own grace. this is completely contrary to the teachings of all other religions)
4. if God made peace with the world through the death and resurrection of Christ, what would we be suggesting if we said that that is not the only way to be forgiven and united with God?
5. if Jesus Christ is the full revelation of God himself, what kind of weight should we give to the words of Jesus about himself, his work on earth, and his connection to the Father?
6. how familiar are you with the words of Jesus about salvation, forgiveness, and how to have a personal, saving relationship with God the Father? (here, i want to recommend spending the next month reading the book of John)
i’ll leave you with these questions this week. feel free to send a comment if this perplexes you, makes you mad, or leaves you wanting more. i promise to respond.