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“True and False Religion”

I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me.

John 14:6

How many religions exist in the world today?  I guess it depends who you ask.   Should you ask one who holds to the pluralism of the day, the answer would be many.  Should you ask a Christian, he will say that there are really only two religions in the world, the true religion (Christianity) and the false religion (all others, regardless of name).

The true religion, Christianity, teachings salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.  Christianity teaches that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  There are no other ways (Acts 4:12).

The false religion, that is, all other “religions,” teach salvation by what man does, even if it be so little that man does.  This teaches that man contributes in some way to his salvation.  This is a far cry from what the Bible teaches, that man cannot save Himself, even just a little bit (i.e. Ephesians 2:8-9).

Now ask the question, how many Christian denominations exist in Christendom today?  Again, I guess it depends who you ask.  Even thousands might be the answer according to some.

However, should one define Christendom as the body of Christ, there is only one, for there is only one Lord and one faith (Ephesians 4:4-6).

So why so many denominations?  Simply because not all have the same faith.  Not all hold to the one Lord.  Not all confess the same Christ.  Not all believe the Holy Scriptures.  Not all have the same doctrine.

Yet for us, there is one Christ.  There is one way of salvation.  It is not our way or the way of the world or the way of other so-called religions.  It is the way of Christ.   It is Christ!  Amen.

Luther

“Whenever you consider the doctrine of justification and wonder how or where or in what condition to find a God who justifies or accepts sinners, then you must know that there is no other God than this Man Jesus Christ. Take hold of Him; cling to Him with all your heart, and spurn all speculation about the Divine Majesty; for whoever investigates the majesty of God will be consumed by His glory. I know from experience what I am talking about.  But these fanatics, who deal with God apart from this Man, will not believe me. Christ Himself says: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Outside Christ, the Way, therefore, you will find no other way to the Father; you will find only wandering, not truth, but hypocrisy and lies, not life, but eternal death. Take note, therefore, in the doctrine of justification or grace that when we all must struggle with the Law, sin, death, and the devil, we must look at no other God than this incarnate and human God.”  (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p29).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, look with mercy on us sinners, so prone to seek our own ways and to heed the ways of the world.  Lead us not into temptation that we forsake you.  Deliver us from evil, that we cling only to You, and find in You alone our refuge and help.  Be our God and we Your holy people.  Amen.

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