September 12, 2008

Were We Wrong?

John 14:6
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

This is one of my favorite passages in the bible. It means to me the fulfillment of the covenant made to Abraham by God. I am the way, Jesus created the way to God outside of the priests. I am the truth. "The Truth" is another name for the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it possible for everyone to have the Holy spirit in them. I am the life. Jesus made it possible for everyone to have eternal life. Awesome and wonderful things.

But it just hit me, I may have been taught to misinterpret the next line. No man cometh unto the father, but by me. I have been taught, that that means that I have to accept Jesus as my personal savior, or I am damned to hell. What if it is taken in the context of the rest of the verse, rather than in a separate context. Meaning, that the original context of the sentence, is that "I am causing these things to happen." There is no instruction of an action item in them. Following that context, It is just a statement of effect, not an action to be taken. Meaning, that not all people have to accept him as a personal savior. Just that his actions caused the possibility of coming to the father. Not that you have to make Jesus your personal savior.

This would answer the question for me, "What about those wonderfully devoted Muslims, and Jews that have given their lives to God in dutiful service? Are they just ignored by God because they didn't GET IT?" Or are they still accepted by God, because Jesus has created a way that goes directly to God?

20 comments:

Delirious said...

A better question is, "What about the little children who die before they have a chance to learn?". They are covered under the atonement.

It isn't that muslims and others aren't required to accept Jesus too, but it is that they are given the chance in the hereafter to learn and accept.
1 Peter 3:18,19
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;"

One Voice of Many said...

Nate -
I'm right there with you on this one. That question hit me a few months ago as well. I took a daring step out to wonder if He was saying just that -- that He did whatever needed doing, now let's all move on and live in the Kingdom together. The checklists of "personal savior" aren't really covered in his teachings anyway so where did all of that come from?

Evangelicals cover the question about children who die before "knowing" with the "age of accountability" answer. That makes sense but only on the surface. There are too many patches to the holes in that specific teaching.

I may be horribly wrong and that idea does frighten me some days but I am doing the best I can do with all of these fragments of faith flying around. I find calmness in the idea that Jesus' accomplishments are far outreaching than what I originally imagined.

How can I be so presumptuous to think that because I was LUCKY enough to be born in a Christian nation that I hold the golden ticket to heaven and those UNLUCKY enough to be born into a Muslim home on the other side of the globe are doomed to hell. They're doing the best they can do with their faith as well. Now I don't mean political radicals that blow things up in the name of their faith - there are those in every major religion you can think of. Christians aren't above it either - let's look back on the Crusades, shall we?!

Sorry for the ramble but I wanted to chime in.

Michelle

Erin said...

Yep. Boy have I wrestled with that, and to the best of my ability the conclusion I came to was like Michelle said...who am I to say? Did God leave it up to humans to say those who pray a certain prayer are special to him? I think not.

I think the words "It is Finished" are the most powerful in the bible, to me. When I really think about it, he meant it.

Then again I think Jesus' intent was to destroy all religious systems, not to start a new one. He proved that religions only kill people and his way is Love and Life.

This is all just personal opinion...

Erin said...

Oh and I bought Ender's Game and started reading it...hoping to have time to finish it this weekend.

Nate said...

Still listening.

Mike said...

Fantastic Nate ~ This makes so much sense. Like you, I was never taught to look at the verse that way.

Anonymous said...

Nate,

First of all I would like to say happy birthday! 40, wow you really are getting old, ha ha.

Anyways I thought it was interesting you brought this conversation up as this passage has been on my mind since the passing of our father. God has really been doing a number on me in many ways since that time and on this topic especially.

I have been trying to reconcile everything I have been taught about what this verse means versus what I feel about it when I take time and ask God to explain it to me. His version, or my perspective of what he is telling me, is that Jesus gave us an example of heaven on earth. That by Jesus telling us that "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" means by following his example. Not by believing in a certain religion or following a checklist of rules and regulations. But by following the example he set forth here on this earth, a living example for all of us, believers and non-believers.

Growing up in the church as we did you get to meet a lot of interesting church goers. The ones who would truly give you the shirt of their back and then the ones who put on the facade to save face in front of family and friends. The latter call themselves believers but never follow the one true example given to us. The say one thing and then act in another. As Ghandi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".

I know this may be a little bit out of this realm but follows in line in my brain. Jesus gave us the example to follow to be in line with the father both spiritually and physically here and now. Not just at our time of death. The ten commandments for that matter are not there to make us all live in fear but to act as a guidebook to living a good life with God. I don't believe sins are just those committed against God, but against ourselves. Lusting, desire, and all the other pleasures of this world may feel good in the moment, but not in the long run.

It is just my belief but I feel that we all have the power to have a little slice of heaven on earth here and now every single day. While we can't control the actions of others we do have control over ourselves.

I apologize if this just seams like rambling, but it's my hope that people start living for the here and now as much as they do for the afterlife. Jesus gave us the ability.

- Little bro

jON said...

"you don't have to die and go to heaven
or hang around to be born again
just tune in to what this place has got to offer
we may never be here again

i want the best of both worlds"
- sammy hagar

but what did he know. later on that same album he says dreams are made of saved tears.

i do know that it is good to hear you talking like this and i, for one as we have spoken before, completely agree with you.

btw, mrs. peres wants to thank you for the ghandi quote. it is one of her faves.

nate, happy birthday as well. the big 4-O. yep. for-ty. forty.

this verse was also instrumental to helping me make a shift. the way has been made. in the past. a thing finished. and nothing can ever undo it.

the other thing i notice in this verse is jesus, who understands, pointing past himself to the father. the beginning of his statement points towards himself, and as soon as the spotlight is on him, he passes it on to the real star of the show.

always, in my religious upbringing, the teachers would use this verse to point to jesus. yet they would stop at jesus. but as the verse says, jesus is the way. it is alright to point towards the way. but the way is not the destination. it is only the way. it is indeed wonderful that there IS a way. but, in my mind, the destination that the way is to is even greater.

the father.

"my god and your god" jesus said of him.

Erin said...

Did you have a birthday and not tell us, or did you tell us and I missed it?

Anyhow, have a happy!

Delirious said...

Ahh...Happy Belated Birthday! :)

Nate said...

This verse is special to me because it put my newfound knowledge of Jesus into perspective of what he was here to do. Not because of what it might mean to me. It made me realize, that none of this is about me, it was about what he came here to do and become. This verse points out that he knew what was going to happen because of his actions on the earth. He was also willing to do them.

jON said...

i'm ready to go with ender's game whenever everyone else is.

Valorosa said...

Happy Birthday Nate :-)

Valorosa said...

But glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For there is no partiality with God.

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;
for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law,

are a law to themselves,

in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 2

Came across this awhile ago and ran it by a friend ... he panicked a bit and didn't quite know what to do with it.

He came around a little while later and admitted he needed a lot of de-constructing and rebuilding.

Sigh ... he has returned to the ways of his past and doesn't speak to me anymore.
Preferring the praise of men over what is faithful and true.

Mike said...

Hey there Nate. Just wanted you to know that we are all praying for you over at Rahab's Kitchen!!

Hope all is well.

jON said...

yes we are. we miss you around here and are concerned for the well-being of you and your family.

here's to asking for strength, wisdom, inspiration, joy, and a shift in your entire situation for the better.

Erin said...

Hi Nate. Jon shared some stuff over at Rahab's place....and I just wanted to say I'm praying for you to have peace and to feel the love of the Father.

One Voice of Many said...

Nate -
You're so often such a strong support for all of us that group together here. I do hope you're feeling encouragement and love coming to you now from this place.

Much love,
Michelle

Some Dude said...

Allow me to lovingly, respectfully, and sternly rebuke you in this (2 Timothy 3:16-17). You were never taught such an interpretation because such an interpretation is a mutilation of the text. Not only is it a counterintuitive interpretation, it is in diametric opposition to the rest of Scripture. If your interpretation is correct, then I ask you, how does one understand the following passages: John 3:16, John 8:23-24, Acts 4:8-12, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, 1 John 5:11-12, and others (this list is much longer). As for persons who do not believe the Gospel, the Scriptures are also clear. When asked how one could be saved, Jesus said one had to follow the law PERFECTLY. Because this is impossible, trust must be placed in Christ, who DID follow the law perfectly. One must confess with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and that He was raised from the dead if he is to be saved (Romans 10:5-13). Jews and Muslims do no such thing. No works will save us, because our works are like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6). We are not saved by works (Romans 4). Christ did not make salvation POSSIBLE for those who believe, but UNDENIABLE and CERTAIN (John 6). To address one of the responses, Evangelicals do not believe in an "age of accountability". That is a Catholic dogma. All persons are unrighteous at birth (Psalm 51, Romans 3:9-19). Christian faith is not a moral philosophy. Christ's purpose was not just to teach us how to live. The law already accomplished that. His purpose was to fulfill the law, because we could not. Only through union with Him are we saved.

getting there said...

Nate, thought i'd pop around and visit. I disagree with this post.. sorry to start off like this :) but there is no other way to God but through Jesus.. there is no hidden interpretation in this one.. There is no other alternative for me..
:) Jesus Is The ONly WAy!