It would be foolish to think that we could go down to the street corner, hop on the first bus that came along and we would arrive safely at our intended distant destination. It may be that all of the local buses will eventually take us to one central terminal, but once there, we will have to make some logical choices if we have any hope of reaching our goal.
When it comes to religion many actually use this completely illogical approach. There are many churches, with many preachers; there are many different messages and interpretations of the Bible. Many people think that they are all pretty much the same, and that they all offer the same salvation.
It is simply not true that they are all offering the hope of salvation. There is only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism," Speaking of Jesus Christ we are told: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NIV)
The "one faith" that is taught in the Bible describes one destination, which is the coming Kingdom of God on this earth. Our hope of salvation in Jesus is to reign with him in his Kingdom. Just as one must choose the right bus to reach their destination in this present world, we must choose the one right way to reach the Kingdom of God.
There is only way, only one true faith. We are told in Romans that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) The first step in learning the way to the Kingdom is becoming familiar with the Bible. The Bible is God's Word; it is His plan for salvation and it describes the one way to be a part of this hope. We may be invited to share in the Kingdom, receiving the call of the gospel of Christ, but our hopes will only be realized if we listen to the Word of God, have faith in His promises, and respond in obedience.
"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7: 18-20)
As we search for the "one faith" we must start in the Bible, with the Word of God. The Bible has many clues that will help us to identify which groups are actually teaching and living the Truth. Jesus suggested that we should look at their fruit. Are they preaching the gospel in word but not in deed? Chances are, if they are not living examples of their faith, their message of salvation is wrong.
Isaiah the Prophet, through inspiration, provided similar advice hundreds of years before Christ. He stated: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)
Isaiah's advice would actually serve to determine a true prophet from his words, even before they were demonstrated in deeds. If their words were not consistent with the law and testimony of the Bible, there was no light (or truth) in them.
The faithful brethren in Berea searched the scriptures to prove the words of the preachers. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)
The Apostle Paul adds additional instruction along this same line by saying: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thes. 5:21) He also adds this advice: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)
There is a lot of good, sound advice in the Bible and it can help us sort out the confusion in the religious world. If we are truly looking for the one faith, we will take these suggestions into our heart and apply them willingly as we seek the Lord, while he may be found.
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you..." (Matthew 7:7)
When we are seeking the "one faith" sincerely and with our whole heart, we will soon recognize that we are not capable, by our own strength, to find the right way. "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jer. 10:23) We are totally dependent on God; it is He that will call us, guide us and help us, if we put our trust in Him. When we come to this realization we will turn to God in prayer and ASK Him to guide us to the Truth of His Word.
Now is the day of salvation. The opportunity that we have to seek after God and His Truth will not last forever. Isaiah was inspired to offer these words of invitation:
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)
He also tells us in the same prophecy that there is no cost, no pledge, or contribution associated with God's gracious offer: "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." (verse 2-3)
The message is clear. God is waiting for us. If we are willing to ASK, if we earnestly SEEK Him, and if we KNOCK on His door, He will respond with His offer of salvation. ASKING, SEEKING, and KNOCKING require action; we must demonstrate our faith by showing interest.
Some prefer to think that salvation is automatic and that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world so that nothing is required on our part in order to be saved. They justify this false teaching by telling you that God wants you "just as you are" and that it is impossible for man to effect his salvation through work.
Why then is there a scriptural call to repentance and baptism? (Acts 2:38) Why does James tell us "be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22) Why did Jesus ask that we bear much fruit? (John 15:8) We must respond to God's gracious offer in faith and obedience.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:20-21)
Because of the "pride of life", many of the people on the face of this earth feel that they are NUMBER ONE. It is almost a natural thing to think that "I am the greatest. I am the only one who really has all the answers. If only people would listen to me, I would tell them how to solve the problems at work, at school, and in fact, in the world." This attitude is common but it is also very vain and foolish.
There is really only one NUMBER ONE, and that is the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. God is one, and it is important to concentrate on this Bible fact. Many people miss this truth when they try to define their religion. When we are looking for the one way to salvation through Christ Jesus, it must be consistent with this fact: "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." This distinction between God and Jesus is clearly stated in 1 Timothy 2:5, as quoted above.
Many Christian religions believe in a "Trinity", a three phased God. They have confused the role of God the Father, in contrast to Jesus His son, mistaking them for one person. Jesus taught clearly that he was not God, who alone is good. He said that his father was greater than he was. (See Matthew 19:17 and John 14:28)
The logic in the Bible teaching is very clear when we consider the second part of this quotation. "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." How can Jesus stand between God and men and be at the right hand of God, unless they are separate beings? (See Acts 7:55-56.)
When we think about it, the use of the word "one" means just what it says. There is one God, one mediator, one faith, one baptism. There is only one way; have we found it?