Does God Love His Offspring Regardless of Their Faith System?
May 21, 2021God's Love, Living Abundantly
Many Christians tend to say that accepting Jesus is the only way to enter the eternal heaven. This is a bold statement considering a vast majority of God’s offspring follow other faith systems.
As we discuss this challenging issue, it is helpful to understand how Scripture defines faith. The Old and New Testament examples illustrate faith as: “an agreeing response to what God desires of us.” Faith is not a ‘belief system,’ because even Christianity has many notable differences. Faith is a matter of us receiving God’s guidance and following suit. So, does God love and interact with his offspring regardless of their faith system?
There is one verse in the entire Bible that ‘appears’ to support any idea of Christianity as the only way to hear from God or to enter the eternal blessings of the after-life. Quoted often, it is where Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (a) [see end notes for all Scriptures]
This being the case, we question if these words of Jesus are correctly understood. Jesus was all about relationship; us with God and with one another. When the three factors, “the way, the truth, and the life” are translated as a relational phrase, a light comes on. “I am the truthful way to live; no one knows God ‘as’ Father unless they come (approach) as a child, like I have” Linguistic experts confirm this is a very plausible translation.
If this is really what Jesus said, should we dismiss the notion that Christianity is the only way anyone can hear from God, follow His guidance, and be blessed? Jesus is our example of the character, attitude and personality (CAP) of our heavenly Father. He often said, “Follow me” as if to say, “Live and treat one another as I do.” Can people of other faiths illustrate the CAP of God as seen in Christ? Yes!
Many know God as the ‘Creator of Heaven and Earth’, the ‘God of History’, ‘Ruling King’, ‘Correcting Judge’, the ‘Coming One’, and even the ‘Present One’. While we can view God in a variety of ways, as offspring, we can still hear from Him. To experience God as Father, however, we must approach Him as an adoring child.
When Jesus told the religious leaders, “I go to Him who sent me and…you cannot come,” (b) he proclaimed he was about to leave this earthly life and be fully reunited with the Father, as One Spirit. However, when Jesus prayed for his followers, he said: “I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that ‘where I am’ you may be also.” (c) On the day of Pentecost, the ‘Holy Spirit of the Father and Son’ came to fulfill his prayer, (d) so people could be where he currently was, ‘in the earth’ faithfully responding to God’s guidance. This is what “living by faith” means! (e)
“I am the truthful way to live; no one knows God as Father unless they come as a child.”
Walking In the Light
During the first 300 years of Christianity, people turned to God in a variety of ways and believed different things just as we do today. Believers in different societies adapted various customs into their faith response while the central message remained the same; we are to cooperate with God by “working out into daily life what God is working in us.” (g) The various beliefs did not keep them from transforming day by day into more Christ–like people with the character, attitude, and personality (CAP) that Jesus displayed.
The idea of only one way to believe and respond to God did not begin to develop in Christianity during the first 200 years. By 500 AD the idea solidified and declared everything else as heresy. About 1000 years later, reformers began sharing fresh light on what Scripture really says. As various understandings, experiences, and doctrines developed, the centralized belief system fell apart. Different denominations formed to safeguard the light they received, but maintained the misgiving that other beliefs are heresy.
The maturing progression that comes from seeing more light and walking in it is a biblical principle. King David admonished us to keep walking and follow The Light, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (h) Jesus said; “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have (experience) the Light of life.” (k) Since our lives are an ongoing process of growing and maturing, (l) we are to walk forward into all the revealing light we can receive.
The Disciples followed Jesus, learned by his example and eventually became shining lights, illustrating what life was like under God’s guidance. Before meeting Jesus, Paul was a highly educated and devoted follower of God, “a Hebrew of Hebrews.” (m) When he saw the light and heard Jesus speak, he turned his mind toward understanding afresh. As Paul proclaimed the ‘brighter light’ he saw, Peter admitted that at times it “was hard to understand” Paul, yet he chose to not disagree with his revealing insight. (n) Many believers however become “dull of hearing.” (o)
Consequently, we should “not judge…and condemn” nor decide who is or is not a godly person. (p) Paul admonished us in his epistles to “encourage (motivate), strengthen (establish), and build up (add to) each other’s faith in God,” not to convert people. Our God responds to and provides for all who seek Him, even in our misconceptions! Why? Because God loves all of His human offspring, even those who are of a different denomination or faith system!
God loves all His human offspring, even those who are of a different denomination or faith system.
The story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son shows many of the ways God’s offspring live. Some leave the Father’s presence to live their own way or struggle to stay alive and feed on what is tossed to them. Some realize how wonderful life is as a servant of our Father and approach God with attitudes of repentance, thankfulness, submission, and service. Some respond to God as a child and are being hugged and clothed in the Father’s love and insight, while others are like the prodigal’s brother, raised in the Father’s house and still do not really know the Father’s heart.
We need to learn to approach each other with the intention of encouraging one another in faith instead of trying to convert them into our belief system. Some are not ready or able to go past their faith system. What we believe is not as important as ‘who’ we are and how we act as offspring and maturing children of God.
If we acknowledge and worship God, we can lend Love and Light towards the path of others. May we come to know and experience God as our Father. Let our attitude and demeanor as children of God encourage others to know God as their loving and enlightening Father! This is a better way to live!
If you acknowledge and worship God, you can lend Love and Light towards the path of others.
a) John 14:6; b) John 7:33-34; 13:33; c) John 14:3; 12:26; 17:24; d) John 14:16-20, 23; Galatians 4:6; John 10:30, 38; Acts 1:5, 8; e) Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 11; f) John 14:6; g) Philippians 2:12-13; h) Psalm 119:105; k) John 8:12; l) Ephesians 4:13-15; m) Philippians 3:4-6; n) 2 Peter 3:16; o) Hebrews 5:11-14; p) John 3:8; Luke 6:37; Romans 14:13;
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder