Some years ago, an elderly woman told me that I was welcome to visit her, as long as I didn’t say anything about the Bible. She said she was a life-long member of a certain Christian denomination. “It’s the one true church,” she assured me. “and I already know I will ultimately be in heaven. I’ve always done all that I’ve been taught to do and I’m a very good person.”
Sound familiar? It's very similar to what you recently told me about yourself and your church, which is definitely not the same as hers.
I think you’ll agree that you can’t both be correct; there can be only “one true” anything, right?
So which one of you is in the "one true church"?
How do you know?
And what about all the other “one true churches” out there, each of them prescribing a different set of doctrines, rules, sacraments and sacrifices to be a member in good standing?
Then there's that pesky bottom-line issue of what gets us into heaven. You told me this: “Getting to heaven requires Jesus plus doing the works that have been revealed to my church’s founders. That is how we deal with man's sin problem.”
Funny that the Bible doesn’t say anything about this. In fact, from Genesis through Revelation, the Bible says that there’s not a thing we can do to earn heaven. “Jesus paid it all,” as Elvina M. Hall’s 1865 hymn so proudly proclaims—meaning, of course, that on the cross Jesus paid the world’s sin penalty in full, so that there’s nothing we need to or indeed can do to save ourselves. Instead, we need simply believe in Jesus Christ.
The Bible makes this point repeatedly. Consider just a handful of pertinent passages:
- Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29)
- For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 1:13-14)
- [N]ot by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)
- [Know] that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:18-19)
So doesn’t this make you wonder why your church orders you to do all these works to get to heaven?
Here's the thing.
There really is only one true church. It consists of those who are, quite simply, believers in the Jesus Christ who has revealed Himself, and His plan of salvation, in the pages of the Bible.
But don’t take my word for it. Investigate the subject for yourself, approaching the Bible with the heart of a child seeking truth.
It’s my prayer that you will do so without delay. After all, none of us knows when it will be too late.