HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Jesus Denies Salvation to those Who Don’t Know Him or the Christian Faith

WHY IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD?

One of the most notorious traits of Christian belief is it’s narrowness. This is reflected in the doctrine that unless one knows of Jesus and accepts him one cannot be saved. One will go to Hell forever. The Bible says that to be a Christian is to possess here and now ETERNAL life. This life is obtained by simply believing in Jesus for it.
 
It is bigotry to say that people will not go to Heaven unless they accept Jesus Christ. If there is good enough evidence it is not. But there isn’t. The doctrine is a mask for intolerance and scare mongering. Receiving Jesus is seen as death to sin and to whatever Jesus forbids even if it is not really harmful. It is a living death. Paul said he carries the cross of Jesus in the body. The Christian is asked to die for Christ and people are brainwashed to praise that even if they think Jesus was not a credible son of God! But that life would be there if the person didn’t believe. It is gone for nothing because she does. That is very very wrong.

 

Some argue that a pagan or idolater could in fact be saved by the Jesus they know spiritually but don't know explicitly as Jesus.  That is just confusing wishful thinking and airy fairy nonsense. 

 

Romans 10 says there is no salvation but for those but for those who believe in their hearts in Jesus as Saviour and says they need to ask the Lord’s help and that cannot be done unless they believe in him and they cannot believe unless they have heard. Faith comes from what is preached and what is preached is the word of Christ.  Paul goes out of his way to avoid such fuzzy feel-good rubbish as that which Christian liberals come up with.

 

The doctrine that you are only saved by the gospel if you hear it (Romans 10:17) clearly rules out any notion of mystical salvation from Jesus.  The doctrine is patronising and its still narrow for it is still saying Jesus is the only way to religious fulfilment.  It would be odd to start arguing that a person who worships Satan is unknowingly worshipping Jesus!  That is what some of those mystics seem to want to be able to believe.

 

Say you are pagan.  If Jesus’ grace comes to you without you knowing anything about his life or what he is like then you don’t know who or what you have this supernatural relationship with. The Christian only thinks you are in touch with Jesus but what if you are not?  And the Bible warns that many of us do not realise that our relationship with God is not about him but about a version of him we want to believe in.
 
John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. " This was spoken to believing Jews. Jesus was saying you need to know of him and his gospel to be saved and you can be saved here and now.
 
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
 
You might say that God can simply forgive sin without needing Jesus to make up for us by atonement. But Paul wrote that it is vital to believe that Christ died for sins and it was not for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
 
If you read the “infallible” decrees of the Roman Catholic Church you will see how the Council of Florence said that nobody at all could be saved outside the Roman Catholic Church.
 
The bigoted wishful thinking that makes Christians think one needs to know and believe in Jesus explicitly came from Jesus himself as we shall see. The new Catholic doctrine embracing the ecumenical movement which aims for religious unity is heretical.
 
The biggest reason that many religionists are more tolerant than they used to be is because of the overwhelming influence of the modern tendency to teach, "Think and believe what you like and God will be happy as long as you are sincere." They are under severe social and political pressure to take this stance. Some teach that sincerity is dangerous outside the true faith for sincerity can lead one astray but that is more a criticism of the consequence that can take place not the sincerity itself. The same people teach that love is dangerous - which it is - and that doesn't imply that they think love is bad.
 
In the past, Christianity held that if a man murdered prostitutes to prevent them passing on venereal disease that man was evil and sinful BECAUSE of his sincerity. The law of the land takes the same approach as the Church. You are considered an evil person if you smash up statues in a Catholic Church and you can't point to the Bible where it commands you to destroy idols to get the law to change its mind. Your faith won't get you off the hook.
 
If you thoughtlessly fire a brick over the wall and kill somebody you are still regarded as an evil person despite your harmless intentions and your sincerity. You will go to jail for manslaughter. Some praise you that you didn't do this in malice. Others wisely observe that recklessness and thoughtfulness do more harm in life than malice. You put flightiness before the welfare of others. That is worse than malice. There is a limit to what harm malice will make you do and often you will do nothing. Feeling malice doesn't mean you put something before the target of your malice. Carelessness does.
 
The good intentions of a person who lets their dog do exactly what it wishes all the time don't alter the fact that this person is practicing a form of cruelty. Discipline is necessary.

The Church always taught that we do evil only for the sake of the good in it. There is a sincerity even in insincerity. You are sincerely thinking insincerity is good.

You would need to be very sincere that you were right and God was wrong if you would go to Hell to suffer forever for your sin. That is extreme martyrdom! It is impossible to beat that for sincerity.
 
The Church says that a man can have original sin and believe he doesn't but that doesn't exonerate him of this sin. It doesn't rescue him from the fact that original sin separates him from being united in intimacy with God even if he thinks he is in God's bosom. The Church says that baptism and not sincerity is what deals with original sin. The idea that sincerity will save by itself is totally incompatible with true Christian belief.
 
If a bishop when ordaining a priest refuses to do it validly the priest will not be a true priest at all. His belief that he is a priest will not change that. God will not take his sincerity into account and treat him as a real priest and let him have the power to change the bread and wine at the Eucharist into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Christian doctrine certainly indicates that having certain beliefs is absolutely necessary for salvation.
 
SINCERITY WILL NOT SAVE, SAYS JESUS

Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God and that sincerity will not save. This is no surprise for the Book of Ecclesiastes condemns marrying and giving in marriage and all activities under the sun as vanity. Vanity is stupid pride and a sin. The book says the only exception is getting wisdom from God meaning not just wisdom by itself but wisdom put into practice. So marriage is not sinful unless you are some kind of saint. The teaching that all human actions are vanity and pride implies that divine guidance is necessary for goodness and salvation if salvation is possible. So you do your best and it is vanity. But if you obtain knowledge from God and are wise in God’s estimation you have a chance of avoiding this sin of vanity.
 
Jesus accepted Genesis as divinely inspired history and so he approved of Genesis when it said that Eve was punished by God for believing the snake. Though she meant well she was still condemned. She thought the evil she was doing was good for she didn’t know what evil and good was. That was what she ate the forbidden fruit for to get that knowledge. Read the account.

Jesus said that the man who had his master’s money and buried it instead of investing it to make more money from it would be severely condemned. The man was sincere when he thought his master would praise him for what he did but the master rejected him and Jesus said God would do the same. The man cannot be accused of having done no good for he accepted the money and he buried it and gave it back but his goodness could not save him.
 
The Jews accused Jesus of casting out demons by the Devil’s power because they suspected the Devil was helping to advertise him. Jesus said that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand so Satan couldn’t be casting out Satan and said that the Church was his kingdom. He therefore condemned denominationism and affirmed clearly in this that nobody can be saved or a Christian unless they know of him and the salvation he brought. They must profess the Christian dogmas. If pagans are saved and don’t know they are in union with Christ then if they disapprove of the Church he founded we have the kingdom divided against itself that Christ said didn’t exist in his religious system.
 
Jesus told the Jews they were guilty of the eternal sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in saying Satan was doing his miracles. They really thought Satan and Jesus were plotting to make Jesus look good. They thought Satan didn’t need to possess people and so didn’t mind putting demons out or he was planning something so bad that it made it worthwhile for him to help Jesus fake exorcisms. Jesus was saying that unbelief, excusable or not, blocks ones salvation.
 
A scribe asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was and Jesus said it was the one to love God totally and to love ones neighbour as oneself. The scribe said he agreed and that its more important to love God and neighbour than to offer any ritual sacrifice. Jesus told him he was not far from the kingdom of God. This was said merely because the scribe expressed correct belief. There is no mention of his goodness or otherwise. He is told though that he still has some way to go before becoming part of the kingdom of God.
 
Jesus said that he was the bread of life and that anybody who did not eat that bread would have no life in them and he said that the Holy Spirit he gives would satisfy every spiritual thirst (John 4:14). The implicit incitement to hatred and intolerance and pride in this is very alarming for he made these promises as if unbelievers could not avail of them for he said that one has to go to him to receive it and the listeners would have understood him to mean coming to him in explicit faith and obedience. If sincerity were enough, they would have been unknowingly fed by and with Jesus.
 
First, Jesus was running down the experience of others who find satisfaction in their god and calling them liars and boasting about himself. Anybody who has ever enjoyed another God, say Krishna or whoever, knows that Jesus was a liar.
 
Second, he is telling Christians to believe that only he satisfies which making them do the same thing. It is pride to say that you have the only source of spiritual satisfaction the way they do it. How could you find as much satisfaction in a God who sends people around you to Hell forever and who created the law that whoever dies in sin must rot there forever as you could in one who does not? There are Christians who do not believe in eternal punishing and we must believe then that if Jesus is right and sends people to Hell that their faith is in error and so they cannot have as much satisfaction as they would have if they knew God better and that he does that. There is a problem then in the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise unless it is made easy for Christians to agree on doctrine if they want to for if it is true then the more doctrinal accuracy the more Holy Spirit because when doctrine is needed before you can get the Spirit then the more doctrine the more Spirit.

Jesus said that the road to damnation was smooth while the road to Heaven is rocky and few find it (Matthew 7:13,14). If sincerity and repentance alone could save them this would be untrue. Everybody would have found the road although they would not all travel it. This saying implies that unless you believe in Jesus explicitly and sincerely you have no hope of salvation. Remember how Jesus said that his burden of law was light and First John says that the commandments are not difficult. This suggests that the smooth wide road is not that way because the commandments are not hard. It is because it is hard to have a faith that is correct in Jesus’’ estimation. It is hard to get the truth. That is the narrow way.  

Once when he was asked if only a few would be saved, Jesus replied that people have to strive to get into Heaven and to squeeze through the narrow door (Luke 13:23, 24). He did not say straight out that only a few can expect to be saved. But when he started talking about the need for a struggle and to get in through a narrow door yes was written all over it. Jesus said you have to strive to get into Heaven and that many do so and don't make it. Jesus was saying that those who battle to get into Heaven and fail are really trying. Thus sincerity is not enough to get you into Heaven.
 
Thomas asked Jesus what the way of salvation was. Instead of telling him that he knew and had the way which he would have done had sincerity been enough, Jesus said that he was the way, the truth and the life and that no man could come to the Father except by him (John 14:6). This implies that sincerity alone cannot let you into Heaven – you have to be right too. The context is about the way to salvation therefore Jesus meant he was the essential way to God and the essential truth that leads to God. Therefore having the truth is necessary for salvation and there is no salvation for one who has the wrong faith. Jesus called himself the truth that is the only way to God to emphasise that you have to know some of the main truths about him to be saved. He stressed his being the truth to emphasise that no other man could be the only way to God. The wrong man or even the wrong perception of Jesus would mean you miss the only way to God. The Catholics see a wafer that they think is Jesus to be the only way to God so they have the wrong Jesus. Jesus’ words would be of little value if a wafer could be claimed to be Jesus and make no difference even if it is not Jesus. Why stop at wafers? Why not proclaim other Messiahs like Henry James Prince or Father Divine or Vissarion to be Jesus? Jesus said having the right Jesus was important. He condemned false Messiahs. St Paul said that some of his flock were following another Christ not the right one. If sincerity alone is enough, then it doesn’t matter who you worship as Jesus or what. The worship is meant for Jesus and you have just made a mistake about who is Jesus. The bad thing about it somebody gets the benefit of being treated and adored as Jesus.
 
Desmond Tutu linked Jesus' claim that he was the only way to God and the only truth and the only life (meaning only following him makes your life a life or worth living both for your sake and God's) to John's doctrine that Jesus was the Word and the Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God and became flesh. He argues that Jesus being the only way does not mean that you must know about the man Jesus to be saved. You can know about Jesus as the Word. He argues that Jesus was active and saving as the Word before he became man. So Jesus being the only saviour refers to the Word whether incarnate or not. But if Tutu were right it would follow that Thomas already had found the way. But Jesus talks to him as if he hasn't. I am the way the truth and the life refers to the man Jesus. This is the more natural interpretation. Keep the Word stuff out of it.
 
Jesus informed a Samaritan lady, Samaritans were Jewish heretics, that salvation comes from the Jews (John 4:22). This is a denial that sincerity is enough and that God will save you if you are not in the true religion. The Samaritans followed virtually the same Law as the Jews and were sincere. They believed in the same God as the Jews though there were some minor differences and yet Jesus said that the Jews know what they are worshipping and the Samaritans do not (John 4:22). He meant they were not in touch with God or getting intimate with him for they had the wrong faith. Not only does this suggest that those who have not heard of God and those who do not believe in him will not be saved but it suggests you can have the true God and know a bit about Jesus and still be damned so you need to know a fair bit about them. The Jews and Samaritans were theologically closer than Catholics and Protestants are. This clearly shows that if the Protestants are right the Catholics will be lost forever for they do not have a relationship with God. The relationship they have is like the relationship a man has with a woman he has deluded himself is in love with him and that he loves her.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that she and her co-religionists did not know what they were worshipping for those who worship God must worship him in spirit and in truth for "God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality)" (John 4:24). Because God is bodiless or a spirit we have to be spirits too to worship him. Whatever could Jesus have meant by such a statement? He certainly was supporting the Gnostic doctrine that you treat your body as not you or part of you and that you live like a spirit or as if you didn't have a body. By implication, Jesus was denying that his resurrection body was a real body despite its power to materialise. He said then that because God is a spirit we must worship him in truth. What does that mean? It can't mean, "God is a spirit so we must worship him in reality or really worship him." That makes no sense. If God is supreme then spirit or not he is entitled to our worship. If God is a spirit then he can be everywhere and see all things. So Jesus must have meant, "Worship God by the truth for God knows and sees all". He will see if you have the truth or not and will treat you accordingly. When you have the truth of God, God is pleased for you agree with him and this is worship. Those who do not have the truth will not be accepted by God.
 
Jesus told the Jews that unless they believed in him they would die in their sins (John 8:23). Some think he meant believe as in agree and believe as in do what you believe so he meant that unless they repent and believe they will die in their sins. But they could believe and repent because of his moral teaching and not because of him. He specified that they have to believe in him so he meant that unless they believe in him intellectually they have no hope. The view that Jesus only meant , "I require you to believe in me and I will tell you what to do to be saved from your sins", also implies that there is no salvation without him.

In the very same chapter, Jesus told his apostles that if they continue in his teaching then they are really his followers or Christians and they shall know the truth and the truth will make them free (verses 31,32). This says that if you try to be good you will see the truth for God’s grace will speak to you. Anybody who does not believe properly is a bad person.

Jesus said that anybody who wants to do right will know that he is from God (John 3:21; 7:17). So, anybody who hears of Jesus and the true gospel and does not believe is just too devoted to sin to believe. So, such people will go to Hell forever.
 
He also said that anyone who believes and trusts in him is saved and he who does not is damned already (John 3:18). He said this to Nicodemus who also believed in a God who would not accept the sincerely wrong idolater – there is no other kind of idolater anyway. So Nicodemus would have taken him to mean that unless you know of Jesus you cannot be saved and Jesus did not clarify so he was clear enough and Nicodemus had the right understanding. Jesus was telling a sincere Jew that he needed to be born again into a relationship with God. If Nicodemus thought he was connected to God through his faith and religion and good living he was wrong!
 
Also, when idolatry makes God exclude you it follows that if you do know of Jesus but the picture is too distorted you are no better off. You have another Jesus who cannot save (2 Corinthians 11). So you have to know of the real Jesus to have any hope. The present tense Jesus used accentuates the impossibility of being saved without knowing of him for it was only at the start of his ministry and there wasn’t much reason to believe in him then for he hadn’t even made his come-back from the grave yet and yet here he was saying that nobody who “believes” in him will be condemned and whoever does not believe will be rejected and “is condemned already” for not believing in God’s only Son. This clearly implies that sincerity is insufficient for you could not blame anyone for refusing to believe at that stage.
 
If you have not paid to get on the bus and are found out you will be thrown off for the sake of justice. And even if you feel that the bus service owes you money, you should be put out. If you think you can pay for your sins and have not how can sincerity get you into Heaven? God will permit you being expelled from the bus so he can penalise you for sincerity and ban you from Heaven for being wrong.
 
Jesus said that he knows his own and his own know him (John 10:14). The context says he means all who come to God. The sheep do not obey the false prophets (John 10:5,8). So, his own consciously believe in Jesus. They know him so they must be experts in the true faith. He also said that anybody who enters the fold without him is rejected as a robber for stealing a place they are not entitled to (John 10:1-9). This robber is hypothetical for he says later that the fold follows him. He is not saying anybody can really enter the kingdom without using Jesus as the door. He does not say that the robber is rejected for being a sinner. The idea that a sinner could get into Heaven would be too ridiculous to refute. Jesus says what is wrong is that they did not use him to enter which implies that they sneaked into Heaven without belief in Jesus. Proof that it is belief in verse 8 which says that all who came before Jesus were thieves and robbers though none of them encouraged sin but did encourage false doctrine. They steal sheep and they destroy them by leading them to Hell. It is not said that they were sociopaths or uncivil people. Many say Jesus sees the thieves and robbers as those who believe they should be in Heaven because of their good works and religious sincerity. After all, openly evil people wouldn’t even want to be in Heaven. You can’t steal or rape or murder in Heaven. Only those who use Jesus as the only way to God and not their works belong in Heaven.

Most Christians say that Jesus will save you from sin and Hell if you are a sincere unbeliever though you won’t know that it is him. They say that the exclusive salvation doctrine means that only Christ and not his religion is absolutely necessary for salvation. 

But if sincerity will do then why didn’t Jesus save us secretly and secretly send his spirit to guide us into charity? There would be no need for a supernatural and infallible giver of revelation like a Bible or a Church. To give them would be the sin of doing needless miracles. So the fact that Jesus spoke of revelation infers that you have to consciously believe in him and hear of him to be saved.

The apostles would not have suffered to deliver a gospel message to all people if they had thought that sincerity was all that was required.
 
Some Christians say that Jesus said that other religions could not work for he was compassionate and it needed saying (page 26, God, That’s Not Fair!). But if sincerity cannot save it is because God refuses to accept it though he should so it is anything but compassion.
 
The accusation against Christians that they are inciting their followers to intolerance by saying that Jesus is the only way to God even if they believe that Jesus will save those who don’t know of him by working in their souls like an anonymous saviour is true. It is saying, “I don’t care if there is a more plausible way to salvation, I proclaim Jesus as the only way to God.” It is an intrinsically arrogant attitude and when going that far is allowed then other forms of intolerance towards other religions must be allowed. Christians accuse those who say such things about their belief in Jesus of indifference. Humanists recognise that everybody has different likes and dislikes. Right and wrong in the subjective sense is not the same for every person because each person has different needs. Therefore we encourage people to do whatever they like to help their Humanist life. Religion when it claims the right to proclaim Jesus the only way should also encourage people to try out other saviours if they wish. I have noticed in my own past religious life that I got sense of peace of turning to Krishna by chanting Hare Krishna that I never got from Jesus. We can’t afford to be indifferent in everything but if we regard religion as acceptable we can afford to be indifferent to people choosing whatever gods and fairy stories about them that click with them. Christianity wants you to think Jesus is best for you but he might not be – it makes a fuss about nothing. If you get happiness from Krishna more than Jesus nobody has the right to object – in your emotional life in this line anything goes and indeed should. There is no doubt that Christianity making Jesus the only saviour is against many important human rights and therefore against the laws of the world that forbid such trouble-making ideas.
 
SINCERITY WILL NOT SAVE, SAY THE APOSTLES

The evidence indicates that the early Church universally rejected with horror the idea of anybody who was not a born-again Christian being saved. Salvation was activated at conversion even before Church membership. This makes it plausible that when the Bible warns that those who do not believe in Christ will not be saved that it means just that. There is no evidence for a non-literal interpretation so it is unjustified. Christians may reject the non-literal interpretation but that is because the literal one is unpalatable and philosophically unsound. But their motives are dishonest and unjust for their book often diverts from logic.
 
Peter “[because he was] filled with [and controlled by] the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8 AB) said concerning Jesus, “And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 AB). The name of Jesus saves and it can only do that if you know of it and believe in it. The name of Jesus given among men means the known name. A name exists only among those who use names. Were it sincerity that saved through Jesus, Peter would have said that we were saved by Jesus and not the name of Jesus. The name expression emphasises that it is Jesus and knowing about him and who he is that saves.
 
When Peter told the Jews and pagans on Pentecost that they had to repent and be baptised in the name of the Saviour – implying that they had to know about Jesus – to be saved he was telling them that sincerity was not enough. Many of them would have thought they were right with the divine. They too were told to join forces with Jesus to be saved so they were not saved and had to repent of their sins all over again because any past repentance did them no good for they had the wrong gods or did not know Christ.
 
The Christian faith calls itself the one, true Church. Church means called out assembly. It is an assembly of faith. “Whatever is not from [Christian] faith is sin” says Romans 14:23. Since sin blocks you from entering Heaven there is no salvation outside the faith community. It is said that the best way to state this teaching is that if you are not connected to Christ in the way he asks then you will not be saved.
 
Paul said that if we are wrong to think that Jesus rose from the grave then we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). This proves that believing you are forgiven is not enough according to the Christian religion. Sincerity will not save.
 
St Paul stated that nobody speaking by the Spirit of God could curse Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3). He means that nobody could seriously think that Jesus was bad if the Holy Spirit was in him or her. If you hate Jesus then you intend all your doctrines to be opposed to him even those that agree with him for you are making them stand without his authority and to spite him. Therefore, you are cursing Jesus in effect whenever you do or think anything religious. If the Spirit cannot make such a one curse Jesus then it cannot have any influence on a non-Christian or anti-Christ cult at all. And grace is necessary for salvation.
 
St Paul said that prophesying and the gift of being able to teach the gospel and testify to it to the people was the best gift. That implies that healing and miracles are inferior. So even if people do no harm and pray to whatever god they believe in, it is best for them to be preached to because it is best for the gospel to be taught. Their sincerity and harmlessness is not good enough.
 
Philippians 3:3-11 is a powerful testament to the apostolic doctrine that sincerity was no use. Paul said that he was blameless and sincere as a Jew but that was no use and was really rubbish. He did not please God until he accepted Christ.
  
The apostles would not have suffered to deliver a gospel message to all people if they thought that sincerity is all that is required. Paul said that he was ruined if he did not preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 8:16). So he had to do it himself instead of getting others to do it in his place for he had to do it with them so that there would be one more to save souls.

In 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 we read that anybody who does not see that the gospel is true will perish and is influenced by the Devil. So anybody that does not believe does not want to believe and will be lost forever for that.

The Bible never says that anybody entered Heaven even in the Old Testament without faith in Christ. Jesus said that Abraham and David were saved but he said that they foresaw him.
 
Acts 10:2, 22 allegedly says that the Godfearer, Cornelius, was righteous before he converted to Christianity implying that Christians can believe that some people are saved without an explicit faith in Jesus. Cornelius could give alms and pray and fear God and still be an unsaved sinner in verse 2. The New Testament says that these things never prove that one is righteous before God. Luke denigrated human works in the Gospel so he did not intend to infer that Cornelius was accepted by God. Cornelius was not saved until he believed the gospel (11:14). Acts merely reports what some people said about Cornelius in verse 22.
 
In the context of finding God for salvation, Acts 17:27 says that God is not far from the pagans and Christians for he is everywhere. This is not a hint that sincere pagans will be saved because it could be that they only come to God when they respond to the gospel. God is near to help them believe if they will hear it and turn to him. In this chapter, see verses 30,31, Paul says that God says he overlooked the ignorance of the past but now things are different and all men must repent and be ready to face Jesus Christ the judge. This warns that even if people were saved before Christ without knowing him that is not the case any more (page 38, God That’s Not Fair!). The Bible never hints that sincere goodness will save one without consciously believing in Christ (page 38, ibid). Some say the verses indicate not that God cares about what we believe but that before Christ he just forgets the sins that have been committed but won’t anymore. But it makes no sense to say that God would ignore sins. The context says the sins are religious offences of idol worship. So God ignored ignorant idol worshippers in the past but now that Jesus has come he will not any more. This is another way of saying he ignored sincere people in the wrong religion then but not anymore.
 
Acts 17:30 says that God overlooked the sins of the ignorant in the past but now he does not and wants everybody to repent for Jesus will judge. That only implies that he let the sins caused by ignorance off and is not a hint that they will be saved for they had plenty of other sins.
 
Ephesians 5:8-14 tells us that the Ephesians were in darkness once and are in the light now and because they are in the light they have the effects of the light which are goodness and having the truth. When people read this they assume the apostle is just saying that they had only error before and that is what he means by darkness. But he said the truth was an effect of the light and not the light itself so the light is the grace of God that draws one to the truth and makes one holy. He was saying that the Ephesians were in the darkness of being totally cut off from God. The sincerity they had then could not save them and there was nothing to praise in that sincerity. They were in darkness not in twilight or dusk so there was no light.

Romans 3 describes all humankind as useless and sinful. They may do good but it is done with a bad or selfish motive so it is not good from God’s perspective. Paul told the converts that they were not saved but dead in sin until they converted to Christianity so this denies that people who sincerely thought they were saved by God before conversion to Christ were really saved and so it says sincerity is insufficient.
 
Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God. This is said in the context that if anybody comes to God without believing in him and that he rewards and punishes they will not be accepted. This means that whoever has no belief in what God has revealed will not be saved for God is not happy with them. If faith is the first or foundational requirement then that means that sincerity is not enough. To sincerely not trust God and to have no faith in him will prevent salvation. If that is the case then why can’t there be other doctrines that are necessary for salvation? Verse 1 makes it clear that faith is trusting that what is hoped for will come. Then it says that this faith makes you perceive that God made all things. This tells us that faith is not just trusting in a God that may exist but is trusting in the doctrines God has revealed. It commends Abel’s faith and says that faith was Cain’s failure. All of us trust in the God that may exist if he exists but this tells us that the if must be dropped. It is referring to dogmatic trust. Hebrews stands as proof that any other texts that seem to say sincerity is not enough probably are saying that. It commends Abraham’s faith when he was willing to slaughter Isaac his son. He trusted in God’s command that this was the right thing to do even though God had promised him that he would make a great nation out of Isaac. Hebrews is telling us that we have a duty to believe in the gospel and are immoral if we do not. We cannot like such bigotry.
 
1 Peter 4:18 says that even the righteous, meaning the Christians who have God working in their lives, are scarcely saved for God judges sinners. That indicates that outside the Church there is strictly no salvation even if you have a very easy religion that you sincerely believe in for it wouldn’t be harder for the people of God than anybody else.

1 John 4 tells us that anybody who is born into God’s family loves others implying that he who is not born does not. It says that anybody who does not love does not know God for God is love. The Church says it means know God as a friend. But it can mean simply know. It probably does when the friendship bit was not expressed. What the chapter is really saying is that you have to be a believer and a Christian to love and that if you are not you don’t love or know what love is. Any love you have when you are not is just an unacceptable counterfeit however closely it matches the real thing.

1 John 3 states that only when our love is not just talk but something active can we be certain that we are children of the truth. It says we know God lives in us by the Spirit he has given us. (Our love involves advancing the revelation that God gave most of all for there is no true love without it so what we are told is that we can learn the truth and if we err its our own fault. It says we know we have the Spirit if we feel inclined to love and keep the commandments.) The insinuation then is that only you yourself can know if you really have an inclination to keep the commandments. Given that since Adam, man prefers to defy God and be a good-living hypocrite it could not be any other way for you can’t know anybody else’s soul. So you cannot tell by others if they are true Christians. You can only speak for yourself. So you are more sure of yourself than other Christians and are more sure other Christians are saved than non-Christians meaning that Christianity urges you to be suspicious of the good works of pagans and to be more inspired by those of Christians. You would be forbidden to stress the goodness in the unbelievers to make them feel good about themselves which is an essential if you want to convert them. Obviously God would rather have them turned off the gospel than this meaning he is able and willing to damn them for not knowing the good news of Jesus Christ. 1 John 3 also tells us that the commandments of God that we must follow if we are to know we have the Spirit in us and are right with God are: Believe in Jesus and love one another. Notice how the interpretation that Christians have that believe means believe and practice the belief being considered as one unit is eliminated for the word belief here for it is distinguished from love in this case. When God commands us to believe on pain of sin that clearly implies that he does not accept that we have the right to change our mind about Jesus or disagree. To damn people for losing their belief and accepting people who do not believe because they have never heard would be unjust discrimination. This indicates that we cannot know we are children of the truth and that the Spirit is in us unless we know the Christian gospel. A being commanding you what to believe is not a good being. He should let you think what you like as long as you mean well and are careful. 1 John 3 shows only one thing, that the early Church felt the need to scare people and make them feel bad about thinking in any way different from the Church in order to get them to believe in its Jesus for the case for him and his claims was so bad that threats were their only hope.
 
The Handbook of Christian Apologetics says that sincerity is not enough and seven conditions must fulfilled for it to suffice. The conditions are, sincerity, total commitment to the truth as an absolute – something that is right objectively, being open to truth, repentance for the love of God no matter how vaguely God is understood, faith in some holy being speaking to you through the conscience and reliance on the grace of God (page 326). My objection to this is that all sincerity would contain these things implicitly.  For example, the Atheist who would love God and who does good will be saved by God despite rejecting belief in him for though he does not realise it he has a relationship with God. Another objection is the view that you need to hold that there is an objective truth. Some people really do think that there is no absolute truth and that reason is of no help though they live a normal life and are sincere about it so the Handbook is bigoted on this point.

The apostles clearly taught that hearing the word of God of the real Jesus is necessary for salvation.
 
Hebrews 11:35-39 speaks of the Jewish holy people who did heroic good works and who had amazing faith and even gave their lives for a blessed resurrection to be with God. Because they didn't know of Jesus this didn't happen. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Jesus and his apostles repeatedly stated that you have to know of Jesus to have any hope of salvation. To have a small or distorted knowledge of Jesus is as bad as following the wrong Jesus so it will not suffice. And then you have to proceed to spiritual knowledge – the sense that Jesus is in your soul giving you faith and hope and charity and that you are engaged in a personal relationship with him.
 
WHY IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD?
 
Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life and no man could get to God but by him. The apostles taught that Jesus was the only name under Heaven by which a man could be saved. Jesus said that anybody who got into the kingdom any other way than him was a robber. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way to God.
 
Why is Jesus the only way to God?
 
Is it so that we can get easy and fast access to God through him?
 
It must be for no other reason would justify it. It makes God friendly and welcoming. [If you can really call that warm and friendly, that is another question!]
 
How is Jesus the only way to God?
 
Theologians say he is because he has paid for our sins to God.
 
Is Jesus the only way to God because he is the only person who can atone for our sin?
 
Jesus atoning for sins would not necessarily mean he was the way. He would be merely taking away the sins or the barrier between man and God. The bulldozer that takes down a wall that stops you getting to the Hotel is not the way to the hotel. Jesus being the way means more than him just breaking down a wall but showing you the way and leading you personally. He does it alone. He doesn’t use intermediaries.
 
CONCLUSION
 
Correct Christianity is totally bigoted. It insists that agreeing with the Bible and believing it is absolutely necessary to salvation. You need to consciously know Jesus to be saved. Those who say that believing in the Christian gospel is necessary only for those who reject it knowingly will have to say, “Believing is not absolutely necessary for salvation. Just knowing what the truth is and refusing to believe it is sinful.” This means that disobedience not disbelief itself is where the sin is in. The Bible is totally clear that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation for the Jews were not considered right with God until they came to Christ in faith.

 

 

APPENDIX Charles Hodge says that: "necessity of a knowledge of the gospel is expressly asserted in the Scriptures.  Our Lord not only declares that no man can come unto the Father, but by Him; that no man knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall revel Him; but He says expressly, “He that believeth not, shall be damned.” (Mark xvi. 16; John iii. 18.) But faith without knowledge is impossible. The Apostle John says, “He that hath the Son, hath life; he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” (1 John v. 12.) The knowledge of Christ is not only the condition of life, but it is life; and without that knowledge, the life in question cannot exist. Him to know is life eternal. Paul, therefore, said, “I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil. iii. 8.) Christ is not only the giver, but the object of life. Those exercises which are the manifestations of spiritual life terminate on Him; without the knowledge of Him, therefore, there can be no such exercises; as without the knowledge of God there can be no religion. It is consequently, as the Apostle teaches, through the knowledge of Christ, that God “hath called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter i. 3.) To be without Christ is to be without hope, and without God. (Eph. ii. 12.) The Apostle Paul, while asserting the general vocation of men, saying, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved;” immediately adds, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. x. 14.) Invocation implies faith; faith implies knowledge; knowledge implies objective teaching. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Verse 17.) There is no faith, therefore, where the gospel is not heard; and where there is no faith, there is no salvation. This is indeed an awful doctrine. But are not the words of our Lord also awful, “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”? (Matt. vii. 13, 14.) Is not the fact awful which stares every man in the face, that the great majority even of those who hear the gospel reject its offers of mercy?"  Systematic Theology, Volume 2.  See page 622.


 
BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible

BOOKS CONSULTED

Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
Ecumenical Jihad, Peter Kreeft, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1996
‘God, That’s not fair!’ Dick Dowsett, OMF Books, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, Belmont, The Vine, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 3TZ] Kent, 1982
Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
Is There Salvation Outside The Catholic Church? Fr J Bainvel SJ, TAN, Illinois, 1979
Jesus the Only Saviour, Tony and Patricia Higton, Monarch Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 1993
Roman Catholicism, Loraine Boettner, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1987
The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000
What About Those Who Have Never Heard? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Illinois ,1992