Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Outsiders (Part 5)
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.'
Acts 10:34-35 (NKJV)
As He says also in Hosea,
'I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,'
And her who was not beloved, 'beloved.' '
And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them,
'You are not My people,'
There they shall be called sons of the living God.'
Romans 9:25-26 (NASB)
If Jews are God's chosen people, if Christians are God's adopted children, what about sincere Muslims? They believe in God. What about selfless Buddhists? They believe in service. What if someone spends a lifetime helping other people, but dies without knowing Jesus?
Would helping other people count as works of righteousness? In the NKJV of Psalm 15, David describes 'The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the Lord,' including 'He who walks uprightly and works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart.' *
What if the follower of another faith sacrifices his life to save another? Jesus said: 'Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends' (John 15:13). Should he spend an eternity in torment? I believe not.
On the other hand, Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me' (John 14:6). I agree. But no one said when this meeting must occur. What if it happens at the moment of death? What if that moment brings a ticket to Heaven?
Here's what I believe: No other religion offers people the same benefits as Christianity; its Creator does most of the work, takes all of the worries and offers salvation based on faith. Our redemption is as unprecedented as a God Who hangs on a Cross.
Therefore, knowing Jesus sooner (rather than later) is a wonderful gift... especially for those most desperate. Even so, knowing Him at all, even at the end, invites a glorious beginning.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Don't judge other religions. No one but God knows each person's destiny. By gentle example, the beauty of your faith, the transparency of its Founder, and the joy of your life are excellent calling cards for Jesus. Don't be surprised when others ask the Reason for the hope you carry.**
Neither be surprised if they don't. Trust God that the right people at the right time will meet in the right place, which is Heaven. In the meantime, don't assume you know all the answers. You know the Answer. He knows the rest. Stay humble and hopeful.
To Be Continued...
* Psalm 15: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2015&version=NKJV
** 'But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander' (1 Peter 13:15-16, NIV).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Outsiders series.