by Carl Light
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A man on a cruise ship fell overboard and was struggling to stay afloat. Some people who were near-by witnessing his trouble, began to discuss quiet nonchalantly what they should do.
One man said, “we should throw him a sandwich so he will not be hungry.” “That’s a great idea!” said another, “and we could throw him a magazine so he will not get bored.” A lady spoke out and said, “we should throw him a bottle of wine so he can relax.” Another man said, “perhaps we should through him some sun block so that he won’t get sun burned.”
Another man who was passing by saw what was going on and was dismayed by what he heard. He spoke very strongly and said, “None of those things will save this man. What he needs is a life preserver, that is the only thing that will save him!”
For a moment the crowed just looked at him with a blank expression, but then the look on their faces turned to an expressions of resentment and anger. Then one of the men spoke out and said, “You are very intolerant of other people’s ideas! You’re one of those people that think you know everything!
The crowed then turned from this man and continued to discuss ways in which they could help this drowning man, each idea as ridiculous as the next. While they were having their discussion the man grew tired and drowned.
Christians are sometimes accused of being intolerant; not so much for what we believe, but for believing that there is only one way to salvation and eternal life and that is by believing and accepting Jesus as savior and confessing your sins and calling upon him to save you. Many people believe that while they are comfortable with the religion they have chosen to follow, other religions are acceptable as well. They believe there is more than one way to Heaven. I’m not saying that there is only one denomination that will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but I am saying that any religion outside of one that recognizes Jesus Christ as the one and only way to Heaven is a vain religion. People will sometimes use the phrase “getting religion” or being religious to identify a person who believes in or practices a certain spiritual belief. They include Christians in this category. The fact is that EVERYONE is religious. Religion is simply what you believe and if you don’t believe anything at all, then that too is a religion. Religion in itself therefore doesn’t count for anything as far as going to Heaven is concerned. Religion will not get you one inch off the ground closer to Heaven, but Salvation will take you all the way to the pearly gates and beyond where the streets are paved with gold, untarnished by a single tear where life is eternal and joy is beyond comprehension. It does matter which road you choose to follow to get there. It may not be a road easily traveled but it is the road of truth. The destination is worth taking the rocky hard road to travel.
If Christians seem intolerant because they don’t accept other religions which exclude Christ as the way to salvation, it is because the very doctrine of Christianity makes it clear that all doctrines excluding Jesus as the means to salvation are vain.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Some people shop for a religion as though they were shopping for a coat. They try to find something that fits and is comfortable. If you were going to spend a couple of hours out in sub zero temperatures, would you choose the pretty thin jacket that was comfortable or would you choose the heavy wool coat that irritated your skin a little and was rated for sub zero temperatures? Well in that case most people would sacrifice comfort to take the coat that would do the job and keep them from freezing to death. People that shop for a religion like they would a coat are looking for something that fits their lifestyle. God’s way is the only way that leads to Heaven however. If God’s way doesn’t fit your lifestyle, then it is your lifestyle that needs to change, not the other way around.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Those scriptures show that those who are born again Christians are changed when they are saved. Their desires change, their hearts change, their attitudes change. The problem with those described above shopping for an alternative religion is that they are content with themselves and are looking for a religion that is tolerant of their own ways and does not require them to make changes in their life.
A great thing about being a Christian is that while change is required, the Holy Spirit that begins to dwell inside every Christian once they accept the Lord Jesus as their savior will enable that person to make these changes, and guide them along the right path. The Christian just has to follow where the Holy Spirit leads.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Don’t settle for what is comfortable and easy to live with; choose the way of truth, the only way to salvation which is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and no other.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
It’s not as hard of a road to travel once you get on it as it may seem to those who are sill on the broad way leading to destruction.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
God gives his children the grace and the strength to press forward and just knowing where that road is taking you enables you to walk it with a smile no matter how rocky it is or how deep the valleys may be that that road passes through.
Christians may indeed be intolerant of religions that don’t acknowledge Jesus as the means of salvation. How can we be any other way if we know that all other doctrines are corrupt and serve only to deceive and lead people into Hell?
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