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A Way That Seems Right
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In the Book of Proverbs there is a clear warning to those who would attempt to create their own paths to eternal life. Apparently not accepting the path that is clearly shown in Scripture, they believe there are other, even better, means of gaining Godís acceptance and preparing for His final judgment. Therefore, they set out to create their own paths toward attempting to please God.
Despite these attempts, the warning in Proverbs 14:12 is clear:
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. NKJV
This warning is given because of the tendency of man to accomplish on his own not only his earthly goals, but to also accomplish on his own the rights to eternal life. Unfortunately, each new earthly positive accomplishment or achievement gives additional confidence of the intelligence level and other abilities to enable him to satisfy all of Godís requirements on his own. Believing that all that God requires are good intentions, many make this their primary goal.
Jesus, recognizing that man would attempt to find various means of achieving eternal life, took the opportunity, shown in John 3:1-4, to clearly define the single path to eternal life:
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." NKJV
To give some perspective to this passage, Jesus had been under extreme persecution by the Jews because of His teachings and His insistence that He was the Son of God. Nicodemus, one of the rulers of the Jews, apparently secretly having been impressed by Jesusí accomplishments through miracles He had performed, apparently sought to determine if Jesus was actually the Son of God. Therefore , he came to question Jesus, but did so under the cover of darkness so that he wouldnít be seen talking to Him.
Once Nicodemus began to attempt to validate Jesusí authenticity, Jesus, realizing the most important need, immediately rechanneled the discussion toward the requirement for obtaining eternal life. Therefore, Jesus made one of the most significant statements recorded in Scripture, that, ďUnless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.Ē
The requirement that we must be born again has created much discussion and much division throughout the Christian community for many years. Considering this, itís no surprise that it would also have created much concern and disagreement from those outside the Christian community who would seek to enter the king of heaven but are not willing to take this route to get there. This resistance has created the impetus for the ďmany paths to heavenĒ movement, among others.
For those who would seek eternal life through other means, itís important to ask, which do you trust more, your logic or Godís Word? For, no matter how emphatic or convincing, all points or beliefs are invalid if they are contrary to Godís Word. Itís also important to note that a belief that is not supported by a reasonable interpretation of Scripture is only a philosophy. And the above scripture makes it clear that philosophies are useless against the truth of Godís Word.
But unfortunately, many people interpret Scripture to their own advantage. Some people ignore Godís Word when it doesnít line up with their beliefs. And when you call them on it, they try to twist the meaning of Godís Word to fit their beliefs. But when you ignore Godís Word, thatís rebellion; and Godís Words says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. However, when someone needs for a lie to be true, itís hard to shake them back into reality.
While some Christians use the Bible as a plumb line, to differentiate between right and wrong, truth and untruth, too many others use the Bible as a reference and ignore or twist those passages that they find disagreeable or too restrictive. In other words, there are true Christians, those who have chosen to follow after truth; and there are quasi-Christians, those who have chosen to reject truth that is contrary to their lifestyles.
Realizing this as a problem for many Christians, itís easy to understand that many who would not identify with Christianity would also ignore or twist the passages they find disagreeable or restrictive to enable them to create their own ďpaths to heaven.Ē
Nowadays, despite our culture of dishonesty, corruption, lies, permissiveness and other signs of the times that are in direct defiance of Scripture, itís hard to find many who wouldnít believe that when they die theyíll be ďin a better placeĒ. This seems to be the standard description of the whereabouts of those following their deaths who have lived in direct opposition to Godís Word: ďTheyíre in a better place.Ē Assuming this means heaven, apparently this means they would have created their own paths to eternal life.
It seems that many actually believe that making declarations regarding the whereabouts of the souls of the deceased helps to minimize or eliminate the requirements that God places on obtaining eternal life, and serves to facilitate their rights to eternal life. Or, perhaps itís done to assuage their own concerns regarding the results of a life that was lived in defiance of Godís Word. Or, maybe itís done in an attempt to reduce their own fears regarding their own lives and their own chances for eternal life.
There are two forces in the world, good and evil. The continuing goal of Atheists and many religious groups is to prove the Bible wrong. While Atheists strive to disprove the truth of the Bible, Jesus is the stumbling block for many non-Christian religions. They refuse to accept that Jesus is part of the Trinity and is therefore equal to God. This is an extension of Satanís methodology. After all, Satan is the master of deceit and he mixes his lies with just enough truth to get many to believe him. By forming beliefs based on part Scripture and part lies, many are being led to believe their ďpaths to heavenĒ are legitimate.
But despite our own beliefs and refusals to believe, Hebrews 4:12-13 clarifies the importance of using Godís Word as the final authority regarding all matters:
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. NKJV
This Scripture precludes the legitimacy or application of any other source or belief that is contrary to Godís Word. The Word of God is, ďa discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,Ē including those aimed at circumventing Godís Word in an attempt to obtain eternal life.
Most importantly, ďall things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.Ē
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