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  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." - Mark 16:15 

 

Pope on how to go to Heaven - Is he right?


The Pope (source: Catholic News)  says that anyone can go to Heaven regardless of what they believe, even atheists. He shares some of his views concerning the approach taken by the disciples, and an opinion concerning the teaching of Jesus.  I'd like to have a look at what the Pope says, and to stack it up to the Bible.

From the article:

'The disciples, Pope Francis explained, "were a little intolerant," closed off by the idea of possessing the truth'

Response: I think it's fair to say that the truth is an important issue. Should we stick with it and be tolerant of only the truth? What about the truth of God.  Should the Apostles have been tolerant of things Jesus didn't teach?  What does it mean to be intolerant concerning the subject of truth?  The answer to that seems straightforward enough, it means to become more tolerant to the which is not the truth, ie, lies.  I would say that when it comes to God, what Jesus taught the Apostles, that they should have been particular on the subject concerning truth.  I would also say that being intolerant of lies not just concerning what God says, but in many things, is commendable.  I think the expression is, "being liberal concerning the truth" vs "being honest."  One can note that being honest doesn't mean being rude, it just means giving accurate (truthful) information.

Continuing from the article,

'The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists.'

Quote by the Pope, 'The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ, all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!"'
Response: The Pope, answering his Priest, advises him that Jesus died for all, and that everyone can go to Heaven, no matter what they believe.  They could be of any religion, faith, belief system or have lack of any belief, atheists.  As Christians, how does this stack up to what Jesus told us?

It's true that Jesus died for all (2 Corinthians 5:15), but in order to obtain that gift of eternal life, Jesus says that one must believe on Him.

Let's check this by having a look at the scriptures.  What does Jesus tell us about getting eternal life?
"And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" John 11:25

“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26

Jesus is being quite clear here, that he died for all who believe in Him in order to have eternal life.  How then could other religions, those people of other beliefs, those who don't believe in Jesus, or believe that Jesus was not God in the flesh, ie, a different Jesus, or not even believe Jesus existed, or be atheists, go to Heaven?  Sadly, the Pope is saying something contradictory to what the head of the Church, Jesus, is saying.


Continuing with the article


The Pope says,
'"those who do not have the truth, cannot do good." "This was wrong....all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil"'
'
Response: The Bible tells us that man is evil, that mankind cannot decide by themself what's wrong and what's right.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it" Jeremiah 17:9
With this in mind, the Pope does not attempt to define what good is. Good in these terms, unless defined, is relative, being open to the individuals decision, and influence from societal and our cultural expectation.  Is homosexuality good?  Some would say yes, the Bible says no.  Should men be the leader in a marriage?  Some would say this is bad, the Bible says that the husband is to be the leader in the house.  Peoples opinions are in a state of flux.  Attitudes towards homosexuality and gender difference change over time.  Should we say that good and evil then changes?  How are we to know ourselves?  According to the Bible, good doesn't change, because God doesn't change.
"For I am the LORD, I change not;..." Malachi 3:6
The principle given by the Pope, is that a person is capable of deciding what's right or wrong.  He elaborates on this by saying that the disciples were, quote, 'a little intolerant...' concerning the truth, and he also says, surprisingly, that people can also believe anything and go to Heaven, even atheists (quote, 'all people... are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists.'), as long as he does what he thinks is right (quote, 'all of us have this commandment at heart, do good and do not do evil.').

Resonse: This is what the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden purported to offer, the knowledge of good and evil, which caused the fall of mankind, and a separation from God.  It's the philosophy of Satanism, that men are 'gods' (Genesis 3:5, "...ye shall be as gods.."), capable of deciding for themselves what's right and wrong.

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" Genesis 2:17
But there is something more to this.  It's not enough to do good to be able to go to Heaven, Jesus tells us that He is the only way to the Father,

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
But why?  What if a person was really good and did good all the time?  The Bible tells us that everyone sins, even if we know what's right or wrong, we all still manage to slip up here or there.  How can we be good, even if we were to know what is was?

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" James 2:10
So there are three issues:
1. Man can't decide what is good and bad going entirely by themselves, because there is evil in him or her, but by referring to God, by reading the Bible
2.  If man were to be correct on what is good and bad, to know what it is entirely, we are all still sinners anyway even if we know what is good, because we will all fall short and slip up at some point.  The reality is, one sin is enough to condemn us under the eyes of a Holy God who never sins.  We just don't have what it takes to do it ourselves.
3. In order to be saved, we therefore can't save ourselves, because we're all guilty of missing the mark at some point, just now, later, or at some point before.  We have to then do what Jesus tells us what we have to do, which is BELIEVE on Him, Jesus, the Son of God, who died on the cross for our sins, who being without sin, paid a debt He did not owe because we weren't able to, as our personal Savior.  Talk about love! To sacrifice Himself like that for us!

While we are on the subject, care to look at an example of humans trying to decide what's good and bad, I suppose you could say, a person following their conscience, or logic?  I found this article, of all things by a Satanist, which I thought was interesting.  In the article he gives us a list of rules, the 'Eleven rules of Satanism'

The Eleven Rules of Satanism


1. Do not give opinions or advice unless you are asked.
2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
9. Do not harm little children.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/satanist-reverend-religions-everything-know-facts-devil-worship-church-ashley-s-palmer-a7767641.html 

It's fair to say, that going by this, a Satanist probably thinks he is doing right, and even doing good.  Well, you could say he was moral, or rather, that he or she, the Satanist, has a moral code.  I think a person could stand by this and be classed by a lot people as good, as an honourable person.  People have lived by far worse and done OK in life, and it is a moral code.  What about this?  Even dictators and murderers can and often do have moral codes, but, is not murder still evil?  It's listed in Exodus as something we shouldn't do, "Thou shalt not kill.", Exodus 20:13,  being called commandment number 6 from the 10 commandments.

One may struggle from the list to say that anything is bad, except number 7, using magic, but plenty would debate you on that too.

As Christians


As Christians, it's God who we turn to for knowledge and instruction, and God's instruction has been given to us by God in the form of the Bible.  It's what we believe, that the Bible is the inspired word of God.  It's the Bible we therefore turn to for our knowledge of what is good, and how to have eternal life, for the bible is authorised by the Word, and the Word is God - Jesus -
John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

How we get eternal life


What's the big plan then?  How do we get eternal life according to God? We get eternal life by realising that we are guilty sinners - even one sin is enough to condemn us (please read this great explanation of sin by Dr DeHaan if you would like more information on the subject of sin) and that we cannot save ourselves.  Even if we were spot on on knowing what good and evil is all the time, no one can live without fault, it's impossible for people to live by God's moral code and follow it 100% all the time, it's just not in our nature, and makes such attempts at moral high grounds, defining moral codes, something of a futile gesture,
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10
And that we get eternal life - we are saved by believing on Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, God in the flesh, as our personal savior, for forgiveness of sins and eternal life,
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" John 11:25

"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40
When we believe on Jesus, this means we do something which is called repent. Repent in the biblical sense is from the word metanoia, which means to have a change of mind. We have a change of mind from thinking we can save ourselves, from thinking we can justify our own actions, to realising that we cannot save ourselves, and are guilty under the eyes of a Holy and Perfect God, and we have a change of mind from not believing on Jesus, to believing on Jesus, who died for our sins, who was without sin, so that we have eternal life, washed clean by His sinless blood.  As we are accepting we cannot save ourselves, and believing on Jesus to save us, the two steps really happen at the same time.

So say the scriptures, as Jesus tell us, and we know that it is true, for Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (1st Timothy 3;16), and the scriptures right from the start told us about the coming Messiah.  We are saved, when we repent. We can know it's true and that we'll go to Heaven, because God cannot lie,
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" Titus 1:2
Amen.

When we are saved

When we are saved, we try to do our best living as God would want us to, using the scriptures as our reference point.  When we are saved, it's called 'born again'.  Born again by our spirit coming alive, by having the Spirit of God living within us. We still have the old flesh, so there is a war between the old man and the new man, so we will still slip up at times, but we try our best and to continue to grow spiritually, looking for the things of the Spirit and not the things of this world, with the Bible as our reference, the comforter (the Holy Ghost living inside us) and praying to God.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16

Conclusion

The Pope may mean well, but he is advocating that the disciples were too strict with the truth, in other words, that they should have been in a position to be tolerant of lies, that is, to compromise.  A good teacher teaches the right things, faithfully.  The Pope is advocating that people can decide for themselves what's good and evil and by doing this good, that will be enough.  A murderer can also decide what's good and what's not, and have a moral code, and live by it, but would still be evil.  The Pope is saying that Jesus died for all, which is right, but that you don't have to believe on Him to have eternal life, which is wrong.  The Bible teaches us that Jesus did die for all, but that you have to believe in Him to have eternal life,

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

When the Pope speaks, he does not include any scriptures.  If he read the scriptures, or quoted scriptures, he would see that God says something completely different to what he is saying.  Sadly, many people will be, and are, deceived by the Pope, because he's the head of a religion that associates with, and that people associate, with Christ.  We would expect the Pope to know his stuff and to be a great scholar of God.  I would.  I know a lot of people rever the Pope, and don't wish to read that which is in disagreement with him, but what can be done? We're duty bound to show people what Jesus said, and not what men, or the traditions of men say, and Christians are duty bound to know what Jesus said, and to tell people what Jesus said..

There's an old saying, if your best friend won't tell you who will?  Sometimes a message has to be delivered that a person doesn't want to hear.  In this case, it's that the Bible doesn't agree with the Pope.  That no one is good enough to go to Heaven by themselves, by their own works, by their own attemps or ideas of doing good.  People also won't go to Heaven by following some new age belief system, or go to Heaven if they're atheists.  People may not always want to hear it, but the truth is that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and we know this because Jesus told us,

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6

And the truth is always the better thing in the long run, and in this case, for eternity, for people's very eternal souls depend on it.  And the truth, is simple.

 

 

 

11th July 2017

 

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