Maybe you are faithful to Animism, or Chinese Folk Religion, or even Shamanism. Perhaps you follow the cults that have attached themselves to Christianity, or the man created mysticism of Islam, or the simple one-branch-covers-all concept of Spiritualism. In any case, it is likely that your faith is backed by a great personal sincerity. Most people, to a limit, really believe in their chosen religion. But here is a question that should concern all:
Is Sincerity in Religion Sufficient For Salvation?
To those in the world, including many professing Christians, the answer is Yes! Let us honor men, you say, in their efforts to reach God at their own pace and in their own chosen pattern. This is love, this is compassion, this understands. This, you might proclaim, is a right and true application of religious tolerance.
You are wrong.
My pastor often says that entering into a garage will not make you a 57 Ford. Neither can sincerity carry you, though necessary for any true conversion of heart, through the gates of heaven and into the image of eternal life. Many a sincere men will die in their sin.
The Jewish nation was gifted to know and to hold the law of the Lord. In sincerity, many were intense in their belief. They knew of the God of scripture, yet they knew Him not at all. Consider the following conversion:
“Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him,” (John 10:24-38).
Within this scripture, much is about. Yet let us linger on that word “know”. This is not a simple word of having information. No, not a simple meaning at all for this is a powerful statement concerning an intimate relationship between Jesus and those who hear His voice and who follow Him.
Many religions include Jesus in their doctrine. Sometimes He is but a token prophet. Other times He is merely a passing figure in religious history. In all sincerity, they pray and fast as often or perhaps even more often than do most of the children who are one with Christ. But as did the Jews who would cast stones at the Savior, they lack any personal rapport with the Lord of Lords.
Is Sincerity in Religion Sufficient for Salvation?
Scripture says that Adam knew his wife and they had a child. According to what is written, the sexual bonding between a man and his wife is the most unique physical relationship available upon this earth, more so even than that of a mother and a child. It is through this bonding that a man and a woman become one in mind in soul and in flesh. By information and observation Adam knew Eve as a person and as a woman. He gave her the name Ishshah for out of him she came. But this statement that “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived,” (Gen. 4:1), reflects upon a far greater meaning of the term “knew”. It is a word that means “intimate awareness”.
In a far greater sense of understanding this is what it means to “know” God and for Him to “know” you. For this relationship surpasses the physical, the mental, and the emotional. It transcends this world and leaps into the Spiritual kingdom of heaven. Sincerity can stir a man to give all that he has and all that he ever will have, yet sincerity that is misplaced is little more than death packaged in a different color than black.
Jesus spoke in this manner:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Is Sincerity in Religion Sufficient for Salvation?
You read the words. It is not that Jesus did not have understanding of these people and from where they come. Rather it is that He had with them no intimate relationship. Though your heart, and your dreams, and your hope be in a sincere desire to follow your religion, if that religion is any thing less than Jesus Christ dead and buried for our sins, and on the third day raised again to sit at the right of God the Father as is recorded and confirmed in the Holy Ghost inspired Scriptures; your salvation lacks truth. For you do not Know Him, and He will not Know you.
Come now. Admit your sinful state and your hopeless condition. Believe upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.