Steve Lay, Evangelist
Truth is narrow. If you add a column of numbers two times and get two different answers, both those answers cannot be correct. At least one of them must be wrong. If you go to two doctors and one of them says you have cancer, while the other one says you do not have cancer, one of them must be wrong. When two preachers tell you that you must do different things to be saved, at least one of them must be wrong.
Satan has tried to use deception for thousands of years. He deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her she would not surely die if she ate of the forbidden fruit. Satan continues to deceive people today, and he has had lots of experience. That is why Peter warns us in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
God sent us His Son Jesus to lead us through all of the dangers Satan sets in front of us. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” The only way to get to God in heaven is to follow Jesus.
People will often say, “You believe the way you want to believe, and I’ll believe the way I want to believe, and we’ll both meet in heaven some day.” Sadly, Satan has gotten many people to believe that illusion. Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The true gospel of Christ is God’s power to save all believers (Romans 1:16). Nothing else will work. My ideas and opinions will not take anyone to heaven. The prophet Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 10:23, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”
Satan has numerous ways of deceiving us into believing that we know how to get to heaven. Even the apostle Paul recognized the necessity of giving up his own ideas and opinions and accepting only the word of God. After all, Paul had been totally wrong about what he formerly believed God wanted him to do. After he became a Christian and an inspired apostle, he pronounced a curse upon any man or angel who tried to alter God’s word (Galatians 1:8-9). Only the truth can make us free (John 8:32).
The Bereans were commended for eagerly receiving God’s word and searching the Scriptures daily to make sure what they were taught was in fact, God’s word (Acts 17:11). When we hear preachers today, we too, need to search the Scriptures daily to find out whether those things are so.
Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” When religious leaders have been taught wrong, and thus believe wrong, their teaching will likewise be wrong. Paul knew that the Jews of his day were in that exact situation (Romans 10:1-3). Sadly, they were not saved, and those who did what they said to do were not saved either.
Many times, what seems like the right way is actually wrong. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The book of Acts is full of examples of religious people who changed, or were converted, when they learned the truth. Those who do not love the truth will be sent a strong delusion, causing them to believe a lie and thus be lost (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Many religious people will be lost (Matthew 7:21-23). But those who believe and obey the truth, which is God’s word (John 17:17), will be saved. Make sure what you hear is the truth. Test it with the Bible to make certain it is not simply an illusion.