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element771
09-09-2015, 09:28 AM
Long time, no post.

I have to admit that I am struggling with the idea of Jesus being the only way to the Father. I have read all of the pertinent passages regarding this topic but am wondering if there may be other interpretations regarding these passages.

Having grown up Catholic and since converting to Lutheranism, I completely have a grasp of the concept of works righteousness. I also understand, obviously, that one cannot earn salvation but it has to be in the form of Grace.

My issue is what about those who are pious people who happen to not be Christian. People who truly believe that God is the creator and the redeemer. Who believe in God and realize that they are nothing without divine goodness and presence.

I understand judgment for those who try to become their own "gods" and who don't believe because of pride.

But what about those who do "bend their knee" to the will of God. Is there any hope for them?

Faber
09-09-2015, 09:32 AM
There are lots of ways to the Father. But beware of what happens next! It's called the Great White Throne judgment.

Bill the Cat
09-09-2015, 09:35 AM
Long time, no post.

I have to admit that I am struggling with the idea of Jesus being the only way to the Father. I have read all of the pertinent passages regarding this topic but am wondering if there may be other interpretations regarding these passages.

Having grown up Catholic and since converting to Lutheranism, I completely have a grasp of the concept of works righteousness. I also understand, obviously, that one cannot earn salvation but it has to be in the form of Grace.

My issue is what about those who are pious people who happen to not be Christian. People who truly believe that God is the creator and the redeemer. Who believe in God and realize that they are nothing without divine goodness and presence.

I understand judgment for those who try to become their own "gods" and who don't believe because of pride.

But what about those who do "bend their knee" to the will of God. Is there any hope for them?

It's a complex discussion. The saints in the OT were justified by "bending their knee" to the will of God without specifically knowing the name of Jesus. But I would find it hard for someone to know Jesus' name, refuse to accept His sacrifice, and still consider themselves obedient to God. As scripture says, God, in these last days, has spoken to us through the Son. Ignorance of Jesus is not the same as refusing to accept Him. God knows best.

mossrose
09-09-2015, 09:35 AM
When Jesus says He is the only way to the Father, that's exactly what He means. There is no other way. Doesn't matter how pious we are, how "good" we are. The only thing that matters in the end is what we do with Christ.

Old Testament saints were saved by their faith in God. It's faith in God now, too, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

element771
09-09-2015, 09:46 AM
It's a complex discussion. The saints in the OT were justified by "bending their knee" to the will of God without specifically knowing the name of Jesus. But I would find it hard for someone to know Jesus' name, refuse to accept His sacrifice, and still consider themselves obedient to God. As scripture says, God, in these last days, has spoken to us through the Son. Ignorance of Jesus is not the same as refusing to accept Him. God knows best.

Sure but I think that there is a fundamental difference between "bending their knee" to the will of God and believing that Jesus is God in the flesh. By refusing to accept Jesus as savior, they are not necessarily rejecting God IF they don't believe Jesus to be God.

To me that is the crux. If they believed Jesus to be God, then refused to accept his sacrifice...we are on the same page. But if you don't believe that Jesus was God, it doesn't necessarily mean that you think he was not a significant person in God's plan. It just may mean that you don't believe that he was actually God. It isn't flat out rejection but more acceptance with an asterisk.

Even C.S. Lewis admitted that other religions aren't necessarily wrong but it is more like degrees of transparency when looking through a window. It isn't like he is the poster child of liberal Christianity.

I am just curious if other interpretations of the passages may apply or if they have even been proposed. Not in a Universalist type of way, but more of an inclusive type of way. Obviously, there is punishment of disobedience and such which is why I cannot accept Universalism.

Sparko
09-09-2015, 10:09 AM
Romans 2 kind of covers that:

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in Godís sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges peopleís secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.


If you lived a perfect life and never sinned then you would not need Jesus as your savior. Or if you are not cogent of what sin is (like children or mentally handicapped) - but everyone else knows when they have done something wrong and they have done it. So for them, the only salvation is Jesus.

Jedidiah
09-09-2015, 11:06 AM
Romans 2 kind of covers that:

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in Godís sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges peopleís secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.


If you lived a perfect life and never sinned then you would not need Jesus as your savior. Or if you are not cogent of what sin is (like children or mentally handicapped) - but everyone else knows when they have done something wrong and they have done it. So for them, the only salvation is Jesus.
I used to say there are two ways to get to heaven. Jesus Christ, and having lived that perfect life never ever having sinned. Since the second does not exist there is only one way.

element771
09-09-2015, 01:40 PM
If you lived a perfect life and never sinned then you would not need Jesus as your savior. Or if you are not cogent of what sin is (like children or mentally handicapped) - but everyone else knows when they have done something wrong and they have done it. So for them, the only salvation is Jesus.

OK. It is like repayment of a debt. Jesus payed the debt for all sinners. However, the sinners didn't ask for the debt to be paid but we benefit from the goodness of God. If someone paid a debt to me, it is not up to me whether I should accept it. Our debt to God was payed by Jesus. Without Jesus, there would be no payment of our debt.

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges peopleís secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

To me, it sounds like the law is written on the hearts of everyone and that our hearts bear witness to that. God will judge our sins through Jesus but it doesn't say that his sacrifice doesn't serve everyone who follows the law.

What if the idea of "the only way to the Father is through me" just means that it is because of Jesus that we are even able to get to the Father?

Why is the repayment of the debt not applicable to everything who bends their knee to God?

Scrawly
09-09-2015, 02:18 PM
OK. It is like repayment of a debt. Jesus payed the debt for all sinners. However, the sinners didn't ask for the debt to be paid but we benefit from the goodness of God. If someone paid a debt to me, it is not up to me whether I should accept it. Our debt to God was payed by Jesus. Without Jesus, there would be no payment of our debt.

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges peopleís secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

To me, it sounds like the law is written on the hearts of everyone and that our hearts bear witness to that. God will judge our sins through Jesus but it doesn't say that his sacrifice doesn't serve everyone who follows the law.

What if the idea of "the only way to the Father is through me" just means that it is because of Jesus that we are even able to get to the Father?

Why is the repayment of the debt not applicable to everything who bends their knee to God?

The entire book of Romans is a tightknit argument. Be extremely cautious when isolating verses at the expense of the entirety of the book. We often appeal to context but rarely practice it, or seemingly even understand it.

In regards to Christ being the only way, I think we should thank God that He has chosen to give us even one door to redemption. An infinite holy God is not obligated to grant a pardon in Christ to anyone - no matter how good and pious they may appear in our eyes.

Bill the Cat
09-09-2015, 04:51 PM
Sure but I think that there is a fundamental difference between "bending their knee" to the will of God and believing that Jesus is God in the flesh. By refusing to accept Jesus as savior, they are not necessarily rejecting God IF they don't believe Jesus to be God.


I thoroughly disagree here. Rejecting the divinity of Jesus is anathema. It is a direct rejection of God to reject the hypostasis of God.


To me that is the crux. If they believed Jesus to be God, then refused to accept his sacrifice...we are on the same page. But if you don't believe that Jesus was God, it doesn't necessarily mean that you think he was not a significant person in God's plan. It just may mean that you don't believe that he was actually God. It isn't flat out rejection but more acceptance with an asterisk.

Rejecting the divinity of God the Son is 100% a deal breaker. If He is not God, then He does not possess God's nature, which contradicts several passages of scripture. And if He does not possess God's eternal nature, He can not be the eternal sacrifice.


Even C.S. Lewis admitted that other religions aren't necessarily wrong but it is more like degrees of transparency when looking through a window. It isn't like he is the poster child of liberal Christianity.

Lewis had some screwed up theology in some places. This is one.


I am just curious if other interpretations of the passages may apply or if they have even been proposed. Not in a Universalist type of way, but more of an inclusive type of way. Obviously, there is punishment of disobedience and such which is why I cannot accept Universalism.

There is also punishment for rejecting Jesus, as is there punishment for rejecting His divinity. John 1 is very clear who He is - God.

Faber
09-09-2015, 06:19 PM
It's a complex discussion. The saints in the OT were justified by "bending their knee" to the will of God without specifically knowing the name of Jesus. But I would find it hard for someone to know Jesus' name, refuse to accept His sacrifice, and still consider themselves obedient to God. As scripture says, God, in these last days, has spoken to us through the Son. Ignorance of Jesus is not the same as refusing to accept Him. God knows best.

I had to do some bactracking recently while teaching through the Book of Acts. I had originally pictured devout people as Cornelius (Acts 10:2), a worshipper of God as Lydia (Acts 16:14), fervent in the Spirit as Apollos (Acts 18:24-25) and his disciples (Acts 19) as unsaved people who were converted. After going through Acts 19, I had learned to look at them as believers under the covenant with Abraham, justification by faith, who believed in a promised redemption by God, but hadn't been aware that Jesus was the promised redeemer. I now look at the 40 some years from the crucifixion of Jesus to the destruction of Jerusalem as a transition for all those who like them need to understand "the way of God more accurately."

Darth Ovious
09-10-2015, 04:13 AM
This is the kind of topic where I remember my mentor A.S.A. Jones. She knew how to put together a good argument. It's because of her that I developed an interest in apologetics and found my way to TWeb. Beforehand I didn't really have a good grasp on a logical basis for my belief.

Unfortunately her website ex-atheist.com isn't around anymore and so I have to use the achieve for this.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060905160400/http://ex-atheist.com/those-who-never-heard-about-jesus.html


The appropriate counterargument is as follows:

1) If a person knows what is good, and always chooses by his free will to do what is good, then he will be fit to enter heaven. His eternal destiny is not based upon circumstance or luck; His eternal destiny is based upon A) knowledge of what is good and B) his free will decision to always do that which is good.

2) Those who never heard of Christ, because of circumstance, luck or timing, could still obtain salvation by using their free will to always do what was good and right. Their eternal destiny, therefore, is not based on circumstance or luck, but on their own volition.

3) Those who have heard of Christ, but who are forced by societal pressure to denounce Christ, still can be saved by the decision to worship Christ with their mind, heart and soul. A government may be able to take away one's free speech, but they cannot take away one's thoughts. Therefore, their eternal destiny is not based on luck, or chance, but on their own volition.

4) No person who knows what is good, always chooses to do what is good. All humans fall short of the high standard needed to enter into heaven. Therefore, no one deserves the reward of heaven.

5) Therefore, a god that would allow no man to enter heaven is just, because each would get exactly what they deserve.

element771
09-10-2015, 05:54 AM
Rejecting the divinity of God the Son is 100% a deal breaker. If He is not God, then He does not possess God's nature, which contradicts several passages of scripture. And if He does not possess God's eternal nature, He can not be the eternal sacrifice.

There is also punishment for rejecting Jesus, as is there punishment for rejecting His divinity. John 1 is very clear who He is - God.

These two statements are great...IF you accept scripture as 100% truth. I understand that we obviously do since we are both being Christian. This isn't a question of theology (i.e. Jesus possessing God's nature to be the eternal sacrifice), it is a question of those who are from other cultures, places, etc that may not have been exposed to the comprehensive nature of our theology. It doesn't matter what we believe to be true, it only matters what is (i.e. just like you can still breathe even if you don't believe in air).

This leads me to the point, just because some people don't believe that Jesus was fully God doesn't negate the sacrifice that he made IF he really was God. And like I said earlier, he may have payed everyone's debt without them realizing it or believing it...IF they are repentant of their transgressions.

Jesus is the only way to the father. Not believing Jesus to be divine does not negate that. Jesus cleared the way to the father for everyone, IF they bend their knee.

There is difference between knowing the path and walking the path.