Our tour through the gospel of John, chapters 5 through 7, has been a long answer to a single question: Is Jesus the only way to heaven? And our conclusion, based on Jesus’ own words, is an emphatic “Yes” many times over. The reason I went into so much detail on this topic is because Jesus’ divinity claims followed by His death, burial, and resurrection (His resurrection being God’s stamp of approval) are what make Christianity CHRISTianity.
The reason this is so important is because we have a confused generation coming up that has been raised on salad bar religion. They have been taught to pick and choose their truth from a variety of religious traditions. And in this setting, the idea that Jesus is the only way comes across as too narrow, too intolerant, and too divisive. While criticism about our generational issues is something we need to honestly consider, we cannot bow to any criticism of this core truth: Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Now let’s get back to the other issues that got us started down this path several weeks ago. I understand and join believers who see the church as too rigidly conservative on topics like politics, evolution, creation care, social justice, legalism, and asking honest questions. There is room in Scripture for a variety of voices and understanding on these issues.
But a troubling issue that often gets thrown into this mix is the trending call for the church to be more accepting of a gay lifestyle. Just as in the idea that Jesus is the only way to heaven, here we run into our second non-negotiable biblical principle: A sinful lifestyle is not compatible with being a believer, a child of God. And this is not to single out homosexual practice as the only sin this principle applies to. But the acceptance and celebration of the gay lifestyle seems to be the issue of the moment.
And while opinions may vary on just how complicated this issue is, our zeal for truth must always be seasoned with understanding, kindness, and open discussion on the personal level. But the core principle remains: the message of Scripture, when we let the Bible speak for itself, is that the consistent practice of sin is not compatible with living the Christian life.
I am not so sure that this idea is always understood, believed, and embraced in our churches. Because the believer’s relationship with sin is so crucial to addressing what we accept in the church, we will take our time developing from Scripture the concept that a sinful lifestyle is not compatible with the Christian life. Won’t you join us on the journey?