In June of 2008, the Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life released a U.S. Religious Landscape Survey based on interviews with 35,000 American adults. One of the issues covered was this one: Is there more than one path to salvation? I must admit that I was surprised at the findings, even given our current cultural climate of skepticism.
83% of “mainline” churches held that “many religions can lead to eternal life”. The survey also revealed that 82% of Jews, 79% of Catholics, 57 % of Evangelical churches, 39% of Mormons, and 18% of Jehovah’s Witnesses agreed. What do these findings reveal to us? Perhaps one thing they tell us is that most members occupying the pews of many denominations just don’t have a lot of conviction about the beliefs of the organization they belong to.
Something else this survey reveals: Most denominational members believe there are many paths to Heaven, and “we just need to choose the one that best suits us personally”. But, what does the Bible say?
Jesus: The Way
Jesus told us that the way to life was difficult and narrow, and would be found only by a few (Matt 7:13-14). Jesus Affirmed that He is THE path to salvation in John 14:6. There is no other. And, unless we believe that He is the Messiah – God’s Son – Our Savior – we will die in our sins (Jn 8:24).
The Apostles also affirmed that there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12). If there are many other paths to Heaven, as many claim today, then Jesus and His apostles are reduced to liars, and they all suffered – and died – needlessly.
So, how do we get on THE path to salvation? Again, let us go to the Bible for our answer.
We Must Hear the Word: The first step in coming to the Father is to hear His word, learn of Him, and be taught by Him (John 6:44-45). This is where faith begins (Rom 10:17). This is why Jesus has sent preachers into the world (Acts 10:42-43).
We Must Believe: To believe is to trust God at His word. It is the kind of belief that produces obedience. We must believe in Jesus, God’s Son, Whom He sent to save us, because of His love for us (John 3:16). We must believe that Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice offered to God for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). We must believe that He shed His blood that we might obtain forgiveness (Eph 1:7).
We Must Repent of our Sins: Compelled by our remorse for the sins we have committed, we must turn away from our sinful ways and determine to follow God and not ourselves, the world, or Satan. Why? Because God has appointed a day when we will all stand before His Son in judgment (Acts 17:30-31). Unless we repent, we will surely perish (Luke 13:3).
We Must Publicly Confess Jesus as Our Lord: If we fail to muster the courage to make the good confession, Jesus will not confess us before His Father in Heaven (Matt 10:32-33; Rom 10:9-10).
We Must Be Baptized for the Remission of our Sins: The word “baptize”, in the original Greek, means to be immersed. We are talking about water baptism. Jesus commanded baptism as a requisite to salvation (Mark 16:16). Why be baptized?
- Baptism puts us into Christ – Gal 3:27 (where all spiritual blessings are – Eph 1:3)
- Baptism sanctifies and cleanses the alien sinner – Eph 5:25-27
- Baptism enables one to be born into the Kingdom – John 3:5
- Baptism is the process through which God forgives the alien sinner – Acts 2:38
- Through Baptism we are raised with Christ from “death” to spiritual life – Rom 6:3-7
Although baptism “saves”, it is not the water that washes away our sins, but the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST through the answer of a good conscience. (1 Peter 3:21). If we are going to get on the right path, we must recognize Jesus as THE Way, and place our trust in His message (John 8:30-32).
This simple plan of salvation puts us on the pathway to Heaven, but, in order to reach Heaven, we must live faithfully throughout our lives, no matter the challenges (Rev 2:10).