Several people I’ve run into lately that seem to think following Christianity should be easy. They want desperately to believe that all paths lead to heaven, and that any kind of faith is faith enough. I don’t believe this is true, but it makes it frustrating to talk to them. There’s certainly a part of me which yearns to accept everyone simply because they have faith; I hate being exclusionary. I think the tendency is to want Christianity to be easier. Religion without the conviction.
In the gospel of John we see a particularly disheartening day when many disciples are confused about Jesus’ teaching and desert him. John 6:60 “On hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ ” Many when they are confused and cannot understand God, desert him. ” ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ ” Some people walk away when they hear a hard teaching, the rest of us admit we are confused but know that Jesus is truth.
What these people are hoping for is not Christianity. True Christianity cannot be mixed, the result is watered down religion without substance. While appealing, it is utterly false. People expect that they should be able to sit on the dividing line of faith and simply “lean” in one direction or another, hoping that the fact that they are on the fence will save them. Jesus has no time for this, as we read in Revelation 3:15-16. If you are neither hot nor cold then he will spit you out of his mouth.
Christianity is based on making a decision. It is an all-or-nothing (Romans 2:5-10). Many would say that this is exclusionary, but I think if you truly look into Christianity you will find that it is inclusionary. In the sense that we are all rejected God from the beginning, but an all-loving God is reaching out to save as many as will accept and follow Him. God is seeking to include, not exclude, it was our own decision which leads to separation from God.
In our modern day world of “acceptance” and “tolerance” people view Christianity as judgmental and exclusionary. Yet we cannot waver on what we know is true simply because it is a hard teaching, or because people may look badly upon us. No, not everyone will go to heaven, but everyone has the chance to. We cannot waver on this teaching on this as a Christian because it is the crux of Christianity. It is essential to understand and be able to explain clearly and lovingly.