• johned@aibi.ph

To subscribe to Eternity Daily Bible Study click here

Eternity 43 - Christianity and Other Religions

(Colossians 2:20-23 NIV) Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: {21} "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? {22} These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. {23} Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Today's study is actually a reply to someone who is convinced of the equality of all religions but wants to know what it means to have a living faith with a deep personal knowledge of God. It came out of a discussion of the faith of Ghandi. Apologies for some complex concepts!

1. True personal knowledge of God, that is a living and active faith, rather than a philosophy, is available, through Jesus, via the cross, and the indwelling personal ministry of the Holy Spirit who gives us clear personal knowledge of the presence and power of God and His deep love for us personally as a Father to a child. I personally experience this.

2. I know that I know God and that He dwells within me and is active in my life. This is not a philosophical or logical knowledge. Its personal and ontological.

3. The highest and noblest philosophy can still fail to connect a person directly to the experiential love of God. To be committed to Truth or Love or ahmisa as concepts, even to practice them diligently, is not the same. It is possible to love the idea of God deeply without actually loving God Himself as a Person. It is possible to love Truth passionately without knowing clearly that God who is True loves you personally.

4. Faith in Jesus short-cuts the long road to God of the philosophers and the classical religions. The Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus and the Greek poets..struggle valiantly but never quiet arrive. All these religions tread the same path and reach very similar conclusions. As far as they go they are wise. But "the foolishness of God" in the cross totally bypasses all this and means that a repentant prostitute can have more of God in their soul in five minutes than Plato got in sixty years.
The Cross abolishes the eight-fold path, and meditation, and philosophy and obeying the Law and prayer five times a day and anything else as "means of grace" and connects us straight to God Himself through faith. Foolish people, silly people. non-philosophical people and unrespectable (is there such a word) people can be connected to God, filled with the Holy Spirit and know love and joy and the certainty of salvation.
That has stumbled many, including Ghandi, who look at evangelical Christians and their lack of asceticism and profundity and conclude that they cannot possibly "be spiritual'. Born-again believers do not need asceticism, they are not on a path, they have found God and know Him.

5. Asceticism and profundity and philosophy have their uses in the major world religions but they are on no use at all in knowing God through Christ. Knowing God through Christ comes from God leading us to have certain faith in the cross and resurrection.

6. The cross spells the end of the old era of religion, of priests, and festivals, and temples and tithes and prayer wheels and dietary laws and clean and unclean and eightfold-paths and sacrifices and offerings and all the rest. Paul calls them the "stoichea" or the "measured out things" or the "basic elemental things" of religion and the NT shows they are weak and powerless in granting the knowledge of God. Try my ebook Temples and Tithes :

7. We can know God and be saved - without any philosophy and without any religious practices whatsoever - simply by personal faith in Jesus Christ the appointed mediator between God and humans.

Try 1 Corinthians 1-4 and Colossians 2 (whole chapter) for a bit more on this. Also see the following chapter in one of my books on the Stoichea - the elemental components of the old religions.


John Edmiston


Visit the Asian Internet Bible Institute



Eternity Archives

Eternity Main Page