He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. [1 John 2:2 (NLT)]
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 3:6 (NLT)]
God’s plan for salvation was all inclusive; He made that clear in Genesis when He said that all the nations would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants. In announcing Jesus’s birth, the angels said it was good news for all nations. Throughout Jesus’s ministry, it became clear that He came not just for the Jews but for all people. Jesus invited all who were weary and heavy-laden, not just a select few. He healed the Roman centurion’s servant and the Canaanite woman’s daughter and ministered in Samaria and the Gentile city of Gerasenes. In what is called the “great commission,” Jesus instructed his disciples to spread the good news to all the nations. The Gospel News of salvation is offered to both Gentile and Jew, women and men, slave and slave holder, the destitute and rich, the merchant and beggar, the tradesperson and day laborer, the able and infirm, the demon-possessed and rational, and both the upright and those with sullied pasts. No one is turned away when they repent and come to Jesus accepting Him as Lord and Savior. Indeed, the Christian church is all-inclusive in its love for mankind and its invitation to all the people of the world.
As inclusive as we are in our love and message, the followers of Christ belong to a rather exclusive group. While Christians are diverse and inclusive, Christianity is anything but diverse and inclusive. Christianity doesn’t allow for a mingling of faith in other gods or philosophies. We don’t get to pick and choose from a variety of beliefs as if we were at a smorgasbord. We can’t start with Jesus and add a bit of reincarnation, dollop on some karma, sprinkle on one’s own divinity, ladle on a bit of astrology, add a side of Zen, and then top it off with good works. If it’s not in the Bible, it doesn’t get put on our plates! Our God is a jealous God and he won’t share His position or Word with anything or anyone else. Jesus made it clear that he was not one of the ways but, rather, the only way to salvation.
It’s been said that all roads lead to Rome, meaning that there are many different ways to accomplish the same goal. While that may be true when it comes to such things as cooking, painting, and gardening, it’s not true with salvation. It is grace through faith in Jesus Christ that gives us salvation. Let’s never make the mistake of thinking that all roads lead to heaven!
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. [C.S. Lewis]