Those who know Jesus, but don’t know it

“All paths lead to God. All religions are the same. Jesus isn’t the only way.” This is what people say. 

It makes it sound as if Jesus is only for one group of people. But what if it is the opposite of this? Is it possible that people of many different religions, including Christianity, will be in heaven? Yes, but not because of their religion. They’ll be face to face with Jesus because of Jesus. They’ll be with God because they know God now.

If they follow the path of love, they are not following ANY religion, including Christianity, and Love is God and God is Jesus and Jesus is God. Do all paths lead to God? Well, if we believe that Jesus is one path among many, we have not read what he said and we do not understand who he is. If we believe that all religions are the same, we can say, “it depends on your definition of religion.” Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). No one else in history has made such a claim! What if we heard it less as a word of exclusion, but more as a word of invitation for people of every nation, tribe, language, culture, ethnicity to embrace the One true God? It can be a reminder that no matter where you were born, what you were raised as, what religion you were taught, what you eat, what language you speak, what spices you cook with, which utensils you use to eat with, there is a Creator God who became a human to show us how to live and love who is outside of all religions and human constructs.

If religion is about rules and structure and dogma and putting principles before people then NO religion will lead us to a path of life, neither here on earth nor in heaven. We know that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9 is helpful: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.) But if religion is true religion – taking care of widows and orphans, loving God and neighbor, treating others as we’d like to be treated – then this is the life Jesus came to earth to model for us. I am not the one who sees the heart. Only God sees the heart. And only God knows if someone is truly loving others and following the path of Jesus. Some will follow Jesus and know him by name. Others will follow Jesus, but because of where they were born or what they’ve been exposed to, they might not know his name as Jesus Christ, but they know the Word of God and they know him as Lord of their life.

How can we live in a way that learns from those around us and looks for Jesus in our midst? How can we be less about drawing lines and excluding others, rules and regulations, what NOT to do, and more about inviting people into an incredible life-changing relationship?







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2 Responses to Those who know Jesus, but don’t know it

  1. Patricia says:

    Hi Johnna, interesting concept but I need help understanding how people will be saved through “knowing” Jesus if they do not KNOW him…….the Word tells us that believing comes from hearing the Word of God so how could an atheist or Moslem be saved by Jesus? Thanks in advance for your response.

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    • fjmuniz says:

      Hi Patricia!

      Thanks so much for the comment.

      What if they “hear” about Jesus through a vision or a dream? Have you heard of all the Muslims who have had Jesus appear to them in dreams? What if they “hear” about Jesus through the life of another, but they aren’t told His name? What if they “hear” about Jesus through Creation – they see the hand of the One True God, but again, they do not know his name?

      How did Abraham know the One True God before Jesus was born?

      There are many stories all over the internet of Muslims meeting Jesus in dreams and visions. Here’s one from Open Doors ministry:

      I do NOT know how it “works”. I repeat, I do NOT know how “it works”, but from Melchizedek to the women in Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew, and all over the Bible as well as in history, we see people who are on the “outside” coming to faith. We forget too often that Jesus came for ALL nations and people groups, cultures, etc. One way to say it is that Jesus is not in competition with any major world religion… he died for Buddha, Mohammed, all the Jewish rabbis of every Jewish sect, etc. God is God and can bring anyone to Himself. If you ever want to Skype about this, we could study the Scriptures together and find countless examples of Jesus. Look at the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. He began reading the Scriptures, but didn’t realize Isaiah was pointing to Jesus. Philip was available and led by the Spirit to talk to him and explain it. Let’s be like Philip! Let’s be ready to answer as those around us seek the Living God. But let’s also let God be God and pursue people in ways that we have no idea or understanding – personal ways through conscience, dreams, conversations, visions, books, Scripture, Creation, tragedy, and more.

      Here’s a perspective on why the women in Jesus’ genealogy are Gentiles and what that implies about God being a God of all the nations.

      As this article points out, people outside the “church” sometimes don’t have a specific time or event, it’s a slower, longer process. Though these people are probably mostly Americans, so they’ve been exposed to Western Christianity, the same principle can apply to anyone raised outside the church.

      I’ll end with this:
      2 Peter 3:9 is one of my favorite verses,
      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

      God wants everyone to come to repentance. And it may be happening around us at any point because we cannot see the heart. There are Buddhists and Shintoists, atheists and Muslims giving their lives to Jesus on a daily basis, but we can’t see it because it happens in their heart. It is “circumcision of the heart” and it is much more important than any spiritual rite such as circumcision itself.

      May we not be obstacles to the many people around us who are sincerely seeking the One True God. Let us be like Philip and let us entrust the rest to the One who Created all of us and loves all the nations.

      One more thing, let us not forget that the Word of God is not just Scripture. The Word of God is a living, breathing, human-God, Jesus Christ. Therefore, people can “read” and “hear” the Word of God without knowing His name is Jesus… I don’t know at which point the revelation takes place, but it is clear that God’s ways are way beyond our comprehension and God’s love is more extravagant than we can imagine.

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