Why Can’t I Get to God Through Other Religions?

Dr. Craig von BuseckBy Dr. Craig von Buseck9 Minutes

There are basically two approaches to religion in the world. The first is a religion that is based on your own good works – and nearly every religion in the world is based on this premise. The second is a religion that acknowledges that no one can be good enough to gain salvation, and so God must somehow provide it – Christianity is the only religion based on this premise.

Stealing a Cookie

It seems simplistic, but the truth is, the first time you did something that you knew was wrong, you were disqualified from heaven. So, the first time you stole a cookie, knowing that your mother told you not to touch them, you had committed a sin. But the Bible explains the reason for this is the nature we inherited from the first parents of all mankind, Adam and Eve – and it is called ‘original sin.’ Every person on earth was born with what is called a ‘sin nature,’ which impels us to rebel against God’s order – what the Bible calls ‘sin.’

The Apostle Paul explains the fallen and hopeless state of mankind when he declares, “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one…'” (Romans 3:10, ESV)

In his commentary on this passage, Matthew Henry explains, “Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness.”

In contrast to all other religions, the Bible teaches that due to original sin, not only do we commit sin, but it is our nature to do so. This inherited sin nature separates each of us from God and results in being under God’s judgment, rather than in relationship with God.

From the Beginning

This was not the case from the very beginning, however. The writer of Genesis tells us that after God created the world and inhabited it with animals and mankind, He “…looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:31, NLT) There was no sin up to this point. So what happened?

In order for mankind to be truly free, God had to offer a choice for them – they had the freedom to choose God’s way or another way. God placed into the Garden what the Bible calls “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God instructed the man, Adam: “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden — except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2:15, NLT)

Adam and Eve engaged the freedom to choose that God gave to them and took of the fruit of this forbidden tree. With this act of disobedience, sin entered into the world and effected every living person.

Sadly, it didn’t take long to see the results of their disobedience acted out. Sin has a corrupting effect on human beings — like the ring in the Tolkien books — and Adam and Eve’s children quickly strayed from the “good” instruction of God. Tragically, the first child mentioned in Scripture, Cain, murdered his brother Abel in a fit of jealous rage. (Genesis 4:8)

I Can’t Help Myself

You might answer that you are not as bad as the murderer Cain and that there is still much good in you. Yet if you are honest, you would have to agree that there are times that you do things that you don’t want to do, and sometimes you don’t do the things that you’d really like to do. That is the sin nature in action. The Apostle Paul describes it this way:

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:19-20, ESV)

Later in the same chapter, Paul cries out in anguish for the state of mankind under the sin nature.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24, ESV)

So what hope do we have? Paul answers his own question in the first verse of the next chapter: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, ESV)

Condemnation and judgement come to use as the penalty of our sin — and this separates us from God. But Paul is explaining that if you are “in Christ Jesus,” then His sacrificial death on the cross paid for the sins of all mankind. If you accept this sacrifice for yourself by putting your faith in Him, then you to will be freed from sin!

That is why Jesus boldly proclaimed:

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NLT)

So you see, Jesus is our only hope for salvation, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NASB) When someone asks the question, “Why can’t I get to God through other religions,” the answer is this:

  1. Mankind is sinful.
  2. No one with sin can achieve salvation.
  3. There must be a bridge between sinful man and a holy, or perfect God.
  4. Mankind is helpless to gain salvation through any kind of good work.
  5. Mankind needs a Savior.
  6. God loved the people of this world so much, that he sent Jesus to live as a man so that He could die on the cross to pay the debt for man’s sin.
  7. The only thing you have to ‘do’ to receive this gift of salvation is to believe that Jesus is God and that He died for you.

It is this personal, loving God, who desires to be in your life – to care for, guide, protect, and empower – that makes the Bible different from any other religious book. Jesus is not only the God of all the world, but He desires to be a personal God in your life as well. Do you want the gift of eternal life that Jesus purchased for you on the cross? Pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending your Son to die in my place. I ask you to forgive me for my sins. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that you raised Him from the dead. Come into my life and make me new. Help me to live for you. Thank you for your love, in Jesus name, amen.

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