The issue of salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone, is ground zero for the war between God and Satan.
Right now, Christians are wavering over the bedrock belief of Christianity: Salvation is available only to those who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.
A recent Pew study revealed that 57% of evangelical Christians believed that religions other than Christianity can lead to eternal life.1 Even mega-church pastor Joel Osteen has commented, “I’m very careful about saying who would and who wouldn’t go to Heaven. I don’t know.”2
Contrast this with what Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
How did we get so far from our Master’s words? What are the implications of this wondering? And what can we do about it? Let us honestly look at three reasons why we are losing the battle over exclusivity and then examine the solution.
The issue of salvation by faith alone, in Christ alone, is ground zero for the war between God and Satan. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, we must all answer the question: “How will we make up for our guilt?” That first couple tried to cover their shame by sewing flimsy fig leaves together. But that fell apart. So God killed an innocent animal and gave its skin as a covering to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). They accepted the sacrifice—God’s covering for their sin—and were reconciled to Him.
Adam and Eve’s son Cain, however, tried to approach God on his own terms—which did not work (Genesis 4). Ever since then, most people have imitated Cain, trying to manufacture their own way to God. In fact, every false religion is an adaption of Cain’s way.
And Satan is more than happy to contribute to the delusion, for “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” and “his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15).
Satan has deceived many false prophets over the years, who in turn have misled millions. These servants of Satan include Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, as well as Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Both of these men claimed to have received revelations from an angel.
However, both “revelations” distorted the truth about Jesus and salvation. Servants of Satan also include religious leaders who say, “Oh, you must trust in Jesus to be saved. But you also need to do this, and this, and this.” False teachers also include a mega-church pastor who says that he has personally trusted in Christ, but there might be other ways to God.3
Many Christians refuse to publicly contend for the exclusivity of Christ. This is tragic because the liberal media often distorts the Christian message.
The sanctity of life has been turned into “a war on women’s health.” The sanctity of biblical marriage has been twisted into “hatred toward homosexuals,” and the good news that Christ offers forgiveness to everybody who believes in Him has been misrepresented as “intolerance and condemnation.” We must argue God’s point of view in the public square. Second Corinthians 5:20 states, “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” God left you here for one reason: to be His mouthpiece. But if we want to fulfill that assignment, we must know the message and be prepared to share it.
Ephesians 2:2 describes Satan as the “prince of the power of the air.” I have often wondered if that includes the air-waves. Television is a powerful medium which people passively drink in. However, most messages being pumped through TV today reject the idea that salvation is only through faith in Christ.
If you doubt me, consider the words of Oprah Winfrey, who is still a powerful media titan, “One of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe there is only one way. Actually there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.”4
We here at Pathway to Victory are involved in broadcasting. But we cannot compete with the secular media. Thankfully, we don’t have to. The battle for exclusivity is not an air war—it’s a ground war. Two thousand years ago, Jesus entrusted the message that He is the way of salvation … to just 12 people. Those people spread that message to others, who in turn spread it to others … and 2,000 years later, it still grows stronger than ever before.
Don’t get me wrong. Media is important. We want to win unbelievers directly through our broadcasts, and we hear about people coming to know Jesus Christ all the time. But the real goal of Pathway to Victory is to equip the saints—that’s you—for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). That is the solution: individual Christians loving others and sharing their faith.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to become equipped to contend for the gospel—the only way of salvation. We need to have compelling reasoning and unwavering resolve.
1. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Summary of Key Findings,” U.S. Religious Landscape Survey (February 2008), http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/05/report-religious-landscape-study-full.pdf.
2 “Interview with Joel Osteen,” Larry King Live, aired June 20, 2005, http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html.
4. LaTonya Taylor, “The Church of O,” Christianity Today, April 1, 2002, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2002/april1/1.38.html?start=8.