I have really been thinking about things lately and wondered, with all the different denominations of churches and different versions of the bible, do you really think God will condemn those that have been misled. What if these people are doing what they think is right?
You have some good questions, and the Bible has the answer. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH.” The question that you must ask yourself is, “Am I following a way which seems right to me, or am I following what God says?” The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless THE COUNSEL OF THE LORD, THAT SHALL STAND.” So you need to make sure that you know what God says.
Many people are sincere, but sincerely wrong. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that THEY HAVE A ZEAL OF GOD, BUT NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). We need God’s righteousness, because we are sinners.
God says that we have all sinned. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Because of our sin, we deserve a penalty. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). If you invest 40 hours into work at a job, you get a wage for it. We all have sinned more times than we can count, and we deserve a wage for that – death. Physical death is a part of it, but it is more than that. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14,15).
Many people are expecting that “all ends at death,” but that is not so. The Bible says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT” (Hebrews 9:27). The rich man found that out in Luke 16. “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: THE RICH MAN ALSO DIED, and was buried; AND IN HELL he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:19-23). To be absent from this body, and to not have your sins forgiven, is to immediately find yourself in the torment of hell. But it does not have to be that way.
Look again at the verse we stated above, and look now at the end of the verse. “For the wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We deserve to die because of our sin, but that verse tells us about a gift that we can receive, that will bring us eternal life, instead of eternal judgment. You will notice that it says that we receive that gift through Jesus Christ. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
Is Jesus the only way to heaven, and if so, why? Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven. “JESUS SAITH unto him, I AM THE WAY, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for THERE IS NONE OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The Bible is clear that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but why?
God is perfectly righteous and holy. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). But none of us are perfect. We have already seen that the Bible says that we are all sinners. There is only one way, then, that we could ever go to heaven – if someone who is perfect paid the penalty for our sin for us. Do you remember what the penalty, the wages of our sin is? Death. Someone that was perfect had to die for us, and to pay our penalty for us, or we would have to pay the penalty forever for our sin.
Jesus is the only way to heaven, because He is the only one who met those requirements. Jesus is perfect. He was born of a miraculous virgin birth (which was necessary for Him not to have a sin nature like you and I). “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Sin did not pass upon Him, because of the virgin birth. “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee hall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:31-35).
Jesus then went on to live a perfect life. Pilate, the judge over the trial had to confess, “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). If we were brought to a courtroom, and all were invited to share something that they knew that we had done wrong in our lives, we would be there a long time, as people told of things that they knew we had done wrong. But at Jesus’ trial, no one could honestly say of one thing that He had done wrong. The judge had to pronounce Him innocent. But that same judge bowed in to political pressure to sentence Jesus to death, anyway.
Jesus lived a perfect life, and then died for our sins – to pay the penalty that we deserve. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3,4).
What it boils down to, is whether you are willing to confess that you are a sinner in need of the Savior; whether you are willing to repent of your sin, and turn to Jesus Christ to save you. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (Acts 3:19,20). “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).
It is a dangerous decision to delay, because without Christ, you are already condemned. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:16-19).
Life is very short, and eternity is a long time. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). So the Bible tells us, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12).
Getting saved is not just something that we say to God with our mouths, but something that we believe first in our hearts, and then say with our mouths. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11). I would encourage you to repent of your sins, and receive Jesus Christ today.