|Volume 18 Number 7 July 2016||
Donald R. Fox
Maybe you have not thought too much about Christianity as a universal religion. Since the world is full of an assortment of religions, some have concluded that one religion is just as good as another. Presently, the world community is being pressed to bow to Islam or else. The else could be your head being removed or other bloodthirsty deaths by the Muslims demanding you accept and bow to Sharia law. A religion that demands acceptance or death could not be a religion that is received universally.
Informational Note: The religion of Islam is a combination of Paganism, of Judaism, of apostate Catholicism and of Sensualism (Hutto-El Dareer Debate).
A Universal Religion Must
Able to Appeal to All People
Regardless of Their Culture
Let us consider the following:
The word “universal” was not new; it occurs in Polybius, Philo, and elsewhere. But as an epithet of a religion, or of a religious body, it was entirely new. All religions previous to Christianity were national or state religions. Each tribe, country, and government had its own gods and its own forms of worship. Religion, so far from drawing nations together, kept them more sharply divided. It was an additional barrier to be surmounted or swept away before union was possible. No doubt one people sometimes borrowed a deity or a ceremony from another; but that no more created a religious union between the two than the reception of refugees created a political union. In the very nature of things it is impossible that any form of polytheism can become universal. If the plurality of gods is once admitted, each nation and class will choose its own divinities. A religion that aspires to become universal must at least have risen to the truth that there is but one God, and the only religion which before the birth of Christ had attained to this truth had cut itself off from all others, only fitfully making, or attempting to make, converts. The purest religion which the world had yet seen was also the most exclusive. Thus, while the Gentile always lacked the power, the Jew often lacked the will, to make his faith and worship universal. (Plummer 2-3)
Our Lord Jesus proclaims the universal message to go and seek truth seekers to be obedient and to be saved. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV).
Love Is the Message of Our Lord Jesus Christ
“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 97:10). “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
[Editor’s Note: Not only is Christianity the only universal religion, it is the only God-given religion authorized by Almighty God today. By “Christianity,” we refer to biblical Christianity and not to non-scriptural manifestations of Christianity in the form of manmade churches, to medieval crusades or to anything else that is not taught and warranted in the pages of the New Testament. Finally, biblical Christianity is the only system of religion that will facilitate the successful transition of contemporary mankind to the eternal, spiritual habitation in heaven where God is. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Hutton, Hiram O. Hutto-El Dareer Debate. Athens: Hiram O. Hutton, 1978.
Plummer, Alfred. The Church of the Early Fathers: External History. London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1887.
How Deep Is Your Love?
If we ask each Christian the question, “Do you love Jesus?”, everyone will give the answer, which is a very easy, “Yes.” However, there is one thing we should notice. We need to determine whether our answer comes from the very bottom of our hearts or whether we are giving a very hypocritical answer. In Matthew 26:33 Peter said, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away,” and in verse 35, Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” Then, all of the disciples said the same. Here we find Peter using very extreme words, “never” and “if I must die with you,” to express his love. Yet, in the last verses of the very same chapter we find Peter’s denial of Christ.
In John 21:15-17, we find the conversation of Jesus and Peter about love. Actually, Jesus was questioning Peter how much he loves Him. After Jesus asked him three times the question, “Do you love me more than these things?”, Peter was grieved because he recalled the moment he denied Jesus. Likewise, in our lives, especially while we are in good conditions, it is very easy to say, “I love God, I love Jesus, and I am faithful to Him.” However, we have no guarantee that we will never face a difficult situation. To our surprise, we might also deny Jesus like Peter if we face a similar situation, especially if our claim to love Jesus is hypocritical, coming out the mouth but not from the heart.
Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” This verse is quoted several times in the New Testament to remind us and to make us know how we should love God. Just loving God might be an easy thing, but to love Him with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s might is not easy. Sometimes, this might lead us to give up what we love to do, not to be together with people whom we love, and even to be persecuted and killed. When we look back at the apostle Peter, except his denial of Christ three times, he was faithful throughout his life. He was martyred for the sake of Christ.
How about us? We will not deny Christ like Peter in our lives, but how about in our everyday lives? In John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Jesus taught to keep His commandments if we love Him. We cannot adjust the Word of God to suit us (Revelation 22:18-19). Sometimes people add to and sometimes they remove from the Word of God, but they claim to love God more than everything and act like enthusiastic Christians. Such persons are hypocrites. Unfortunately, many Christians around the world claim that they really love God, but they do not obey what is commanded in His Word.
To summarize, loving God in words is not what the Bible says about loving God. It must be action, and it is shown by obeying what He has commanded us. James 2:17, reads, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” The Christian’s actions must be according to Scripture. So, after answering the question, “Do you love Jesus?”, the next question that should follow is, “How deep is your love?” The very simpe way to discern the correct answer is to look back on our lives to see whether we obeyed God’s Word or our own fleshly desires. Some of us might be ready to sacrifice even our lives for Christ, but if there is no obedience to His words and what He has taught us to do, our love is not yet deep enough.
[Editor’s Note: The apostle Peter was willing to die for the Son of God in the heightened emotional crisis surrounding the arrest of Jesus Christ, but our Lord rejected that gesture (Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11). For one thing, Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual rather than a physical kingdom (John 18:36). The apostle Peter found it much more difficult to live for Christ than to die for Christ (Matthew 26:69-75; Galatians 2:11-14). Living for Christ is the challenge that I face, along with every other child of God. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]