“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?