The religious leaders of JESUS' day were convinced that they knew the pathway to eternal life, yet they were completely wrong. They were certain that the scriptures were the word of GOD; yet they were blind to the real meaning of them. They read the word, but they had no understanding of its central theme. When confronted with the truth from JESUS' own lips they would not receive it because they loved their own way and were unwilling to bow their knees to HIS lordship.
The LORD JESUS CHRIST made it very clear throughout HIS ministry, that HE alone was the source of all truth. He said the scriptures "are they which testify of me". He said on another occasion, "I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no man cometh to the FATHER, but by ME. If ye had known me, ye should (or would) have known my FATHER also." (John 14:6,7). He didn't beat around the bush or leave any doubt for his hearers that HE alone was the only way to eternal life. This unshaken proclamation was the very reason that the leaders of organized religion in HIS day sought to destroy HIM and, ultimately, those who followed HIM. Religion is a very strong force in the world in which we live. Men and women often do strange things in the name of it. Truth is not a high priority for those who are stuck in their religious traditions. These leaders knew that the message JESUS preached would undermine their authority and would put all men on the same footing before the FATHER. Gone would be all those things which men could look upon with pride as achievements before GOD. Gone would be activities which they could participate in to make themselves righteous before HIM. They would either have to receive HIM and bow to HIS lordship or be set apart with the unrighteous.
They embraced the scriptures, yet they rejected the central TRUTH, taught in the scriptures, that could have set them free. They were willing to follow their traditions rather than CHRIST. Men are not much different today. Men cling to many religious traditions, that have foundations (see text) in truth, in which they "think" they have eternal life.
Some think that they have eternal life because they have made "a decision" at the conclusion of a gospel meeting or signed some card which promises the same. It is necessary for a man to turn to JESUS CHRIST in order to be saved. Yet the LORD said, "Not everyone 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." (Mt.7:21) Some think they have eternal life because they have been "baptized" in water. The LORD commanded us to be baptized in water as a public confession of our faith and as a means of openly being connected with HIS death, burial, and resurrection. (see Mt.28:19). But our sin cannot be taken away with water. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk.16:16) "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS mercy HE saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the HOLY GHOST" (Titus 3:5) Some think they have eternal life because they have "joined the church". It is vital for the true believer to be part of a local church in order to be fed, fitted for ministry, and built up in the faith. Yet in order to have eternal life a man must be joined to CHRIST. "And be found in HIM, not having mine own righteousness" (Phil.3:9) Some think they have eternal life because they have received some physical "healing". Sometimes the LORD is pleased to heal a person in a miraculous way that defies human reason. Yet no matter how many times someone is healed, ultimately, these bodies will wither and die because of sin. "Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of GOD" (I Cor.15:50) "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of GOD" (John 3:3) Some think they have eternal life because they "tithe". One of the greatest blessings that a true believer will ever experience is in being able to give something back to the LORD. Yet the kingdom of GOD is not meat and drink nor is it about money and earthly riches. (see Rom. 14:17)
Some think they have eternal life because they have spoken with other tongues, been "slain in the spirit", or received some other miraculous visitation. Now there is no doubt that GOD often affects men and women in ways that cannot be explained. The book of Acts demonstrates this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Yet for every true "experience" Satan has devised a counterfeit even to the point of "transforming himself into an angel of light."(see II Cor.11:14) Experiences are temporary and momentary but new life in CHRIST JESUS is forever. "Therefore if any man be in CHRIST he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new"( II Cor.5:17) Some think they have eternal life because they have performed "miracles" or "cast out devils" in the LORD's name. Yet the LORD said, "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". (Mt.7:22,23). Some think that they have eternal life because they belong to some "true church" which can trace its lineage to the apostles or because they follow some "prophet" or teacher who knows "the truth" or has some inside knowledge of "secret things". JESUS CHRIST is the revelation of the FATHER. All of the secrets we need to know are set forth in HIM. All prophecy has its ultimate fulfillment in HIM. HE has accomplished everything necessary for the procurement of our salvation.
The religious tradition that a man walks in cannot grant him eternal life regardless of its origins or the power of its leaders. Religious experience, no matter how real or sweet, is not a proof of eternal life. No plan which man can devise, nor deed that he can perform can procure this life eternal. The only way that a man can truly have eternal life is to have it given to him by the FATHER. It cannot be earned or merited. John summed it all up for us when he said, "And this is the record, that GOD hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in HIS SON. He that hath the SON hath life: and he that hath not the SON of GOD hath not life." (I Jn.5:11,12). JESUS CHRIST is eternal life. "And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld HIS glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the FATHER), full of grace and truth." ( Jn.1:14)
In order for a man to have eternal life he must have JESUS CHRIST, not in traditions, or based on the assurances of others, but in reality. Oh my religious friend, do not perish today because "you think" you have eternal life. Do not be satisfied because you have prayed a certain prayer or been told that you are "saved". Paul said, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." (Phil 3:10). The LORD calls unto sinners to come to HIM for life. HE is the only hope for those who find themselves in a hopeless condition.
Do you hear HIS call today? HE said "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." (Jn.10:27,28) Will you perish in the traditions you have been taught? Or will you turn away from all those things in which religious men depend, and flee to the LORD JESUS CHRIST for mercy? HE is ready to receive all sinners who come to HIM. The word of GOD records no instance, where any person calling upon the name of the LORD, with a humble and broken heart for their sin was ever refused.
Lily of the valley, bright and morning star;
You are the dayspsring from on high.
You're the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings
You are the way, the truth, the life!
And we'll praise your name O Lord in the morning!
And we'll sing your song O Lord in the night!
We will raise our hands, our voice, and bring the sacrifice.
For Your name is worthy of our praise!
Lion of Judah, the faithful and amen,
Thou art the light of the world.
Shadow of a great rock in a weary land;
My rock my fortress and my peace!
Son of the highest, yet the Son of man.
Rose of Sharon, door of the sheep.
Immanuel, God with us, the Lord our righteousness
Prince of the kings of the earth
Captain of salvation, beginning and the end.
Bread of life and arm of the Lord
Deliverer out of Zion, heir of all things
Man of sorrows, judge of all the earth.