Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Other Religions (Part 2, Conclusion)
I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.
John 10:16 (NAS)
I permitted myself to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'
Isaiah 65:1 (NAS)
Many scriptures in the Old and New Testaments promise salvation to the Gentiles--to those who are not Jews. While Jews are God's chosen people, Christians are God's adopted children. Both hold a unique place in God's heart. But it's no reason to become arrogant.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:9). Why do we assume we have God's salvation plan all figured out? Why do we condemn other religions or individuals with no religion? Such judgment does not shine with the love of Christ. He condemned no one except the arrogant religious leaders of His time.
Not Romans, Samaritans, prostitutes, tax collectors, or demon-possessed lunatics--nor even those who mocked Him. 'For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved' (John 3:17). What gives us the right to assume we know anyone's spiritual destiny? Does our judgment rest on Jesus' Own words, 'No one comes to the Father but through Me' (John 14:6)?
Truly, He is clear that each of us must have a 'come to Jesus' meeting before entering Heaven's gates. But who is to say when that meeting occurs? 'For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Romans 10:13).
The thief on the cross next to Christ called on Him at the time of his death. God does not judge us by how long we know Him. In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, those who have worked only an hour received the same reward as those who worked the full day (Matthew 20:1-16). 'Many who are first will be last; and the last, first' (Matthew 19:30).
Let's learn from Jesus and meet those from other cultures, beliefs, or religions with love. Let's show and tell the good things Jesus has done for us. But let's do it without judgment or condemnation. Only God decides when the promise-filled 'come to Jesus meeting' occurs and who is ultimately saved.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Other Religions series.