"There are millions of ways to be a human being, and many paths to what you call God." "Well I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity." ~Oprah Winfrey
You know what? She's right. There are millions of ways to God. There are as many ways to God as there are religions, philosophies, and other beliefs! And they all end in judgment.
In Matthew, Jesus said that "Before Him will be gathered all the nations." To those who are His sheep, who listened to the voice of the shepherd, He will say, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' But to the goats, He will say, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and His angels' (Matthew 25:31-34, 41).
Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many might works in your name?' And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'" (Matthew 7:21-23).
In John 5, Jesus said, "For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son... Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life" (John 5:22-24).
Everyone gets to God. But the ones who will be saved from judgment will be those who believed in Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), when we understand the text.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, His disciples asked, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:6-8).
The disciples believed as most Jews did that the Messiah was going to make Israel great again, as it was under kings David and Solomon. But Jesus said that with the Holy Spirit, you will go into the world preaching the gospel, and this will be done for as long as the Father has determined.
In other words, Jesus was saying that the preaching of the gospel will Israel. Whoever believes the gospel of Jesus Christ is true Israel. Now some will decry this as supersessionism: "The church has not replaced Israel!" they will say. Of course it hasn't. The church is the expansion of Israel.
Paul referred to true believers as the Israel of God (Galatians 6:15-16). Romans 2:28-29 says, "No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, but a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision a matter of the heart." Romans 9:6 says, "For not all who are descended from Israel," meaning ethnic Israel, "belong to Israel," meaning spiritual Israel.
In Romans 11, we're given the picture of a cultivated olive tree: branches have been cut off, and Jews and Gentiles grafted into Christ together. Then verse 26 says, "And in this way all Israel will be saved," meaning true Israel, all who serve Christ as king, when we understand the text.
"I tell you many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be throne into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 8:11-12
"Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our Father.' For I tell you God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham." Luke 3:8
"They answered Him, 'Abraham is our father!' Jesus said to them, 'If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works that Abraham did..." John 8:39
"Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham... And if you are Christ's then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." Galatians 3:7, 29
In a recent interview, Grammy and Dove Award winner Lauren Daigle was asked her opinion about homosexuality.
Domenick Nati: "Do you feel that homosexuality is a sin?"Okay, Lauren. Well in Matthew 19, Jesus said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'"
Lauren Daigle: "You know, I can't honestly answer on that. I have too many people that I love, that they are homosexual. I don't know. I can't say one way or the other. I'm not God, so when people ask questions like that, that's what my go-to is. I just say read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know, because I'm learning, too."
Leviticus 20:13 says that if a man lies with a man as with a woman, they have committed an abomination. The Apostle Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 when he says that men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 22:15 says among those who are outside the kingdom are the dogs, a word used in Deuteronomy 23:18 to describe homosexual male prostitutes. Romans 1:26-27 says that those whose hearts are darkened exchange natural relations for those contrary to nature: women burn with passion for women, and men commit shameless acts with men.
If you care for your homosexual friends, the loving thing to do would be to tell them to repent and follow Jesus. Don't be flippant about behavior God has promised He will judge, when we understand the text.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16
"Partiality in judging is not good. Whoever says to the wicked, 'You are in the right,' will be cursed by peoples, and abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips." Proverbs 24:23-26
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments... Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him... If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me." John 14:15, 21, 23-24
In John 3, Nicodemus said to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that you're a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Now, that might seem like an odd reply since Nicodemus didn't mention the kingdom. But Jesus not only responded to Nick's statement, He declared His authority as God.
"Truly" or "Verily" in Hebrew is the word "amen." Yes, that word we tack on to the end of prayers. It means "so be it." For a gathering to conclude a prayer or preaching with "Amen" means to be in agreement with everything that was said.
But for Jesus to put this word at the start of his answer, it takes on a different meaning. When Jesus said "Truly, I say to you," He was saying, "I am a firsthand witness that what I say to you is the truth," as if He was there in the beginning when all truth was established.
Because He was! Jesus is the author of truth. John 1:3 says, "All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Colossians 1:16 says, "For by Him, all things were created... whether throne or dominions or rulers or authorities."
So when Nicodemas said, "We know you are a teacher come from God," Jesus responded as if to say, "I am God, and no one gets to God unless He is born of God." In every gospel, Jesus says, "Truly, I say to you," all divine claims to being the way, the truth, and the life, when we understand the text.
A pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus and said, "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." Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:1-5).
What does it mean to be born of water and the Spirit? Some have said that water here represents physical birth, like water of the amniotic sack, and Spirit represents spiritual rebirth. Many Pentecostals teach that being born of water and spirit means you need to be baptized to be saved, and then speak in tongues to prove you have the Holy Spirit! But that's a lie.
Rather, Jesus was teaching what God had said through the prophet Ezekiel:
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Ezekiel 36:25-27
Titus 3:5 says that "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior."
That's what it means to be born of water and the Spirit. God cleanses us of our rebellious heart, and gives us His Spirit that we would worship and obey Him. We have nothing good to give except that which God gives to us, when we understand the text.