Question & AnswerBible answers to your questions | Volume 26 No. 5
I often hear people express that all religions lead to heaven. Can people with widely different beliefs still be in heaven together?
Despite the popular belief that there are many paths to heaven, Jesus plainly stated in Matthew 7:13–14 that the way to eternal life is quite restrictive: “Enter ye in at the strait gait: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Additionally, Jesus made exclusive claims about Himself as the only person who could offer eternal life. Using the analogy of sheep and their folds, He asserted: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved….” John 10:9. He further stated: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. According to Jesus, no one else, nor their teachings, can give you entrance into eternal life.
Jesus also gave specific conditions for eternal life: “If thou will enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17; and gave a specific test of our love: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15. This may come as a surprise to many who have been taught that is unrelated to eternal life. Yet Jesus taught that we show our love for Him by our obedience to His expressed commandments. This obedience, however, is only produced through the power of the Holy Spirit promised to all who have surrendered their lives to Him. John 14:16–21; Romans 5:1–5.
Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit are also the only ones who will not scorn the path of the narrow way. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14. Jesus continues his restrictive language by warning that not all voices that claim to have truth can be trusted. In fact, those masquerading as shepherds could be “thieves, robbers, and hirelings” who rob, neglect, and kill sheep. John 10:10–13.
Yet He assures us that, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27. “And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” John 10:5. There is only one sure way to know Jesus’s voice from an imposter’s: we must exalt God’s Word above the opinions of preachers, church councils, or even our own opinions.
The last warning message that God’s people give to the world is a startling message of separation, not a message of world peace and unity among religions: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird…And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
If there are many paths to heaven, does it really matter what you believe?
Millions have never heard the good news of Jesus. Still, there are those among them that live by His Spirit and treasure the light they have. Acts 17:30. Jesus will not be ashamed to call them His children and will provide opportunities for them to learn about Him. “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:16.
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