The offer of Christianity to anyone who will embrace it is, unarguably, the best you can find in all of the universe. With Christianity, one receives forgiveness of sins, a legal declaration of being perfect, a relationship with Almighty God, a constant guidance from the Holy Spirit, a holistic transformation that only God can do for us and an eternal life of joy in Heaven. With all of these promises, we come to the question, "Why are Christians very few in number despite these?"
One complaint hurled against Christianity that people say turns them off from it is the seeming exclusiveness. "Why can't Christianity be more inclusive?" a lot of them ask. Why can't it embrace homosexuals, atheists, drug addicts, people of other religions, etc? The message is clear, those who won't believe in Jesus as well as those who practice things God is against with will be disqualified of Heaven and will be condemned for eternity in Hell (John 3:18 / 1 Corinthians 6:910).
One answer as to why Christianity is not inclusive is because Almighty God, the Creator of everything including us, in exercise of His authority and holy character, has set the standard as to how a person may enter Heaven. Matthew 5:48 declares, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Perfection means being sinless. Now, who among us hasn't lied, stolen things, looked with lust at someone, coveted something others own, etc.? None of us can say that we have not offended any of God's Laws. That disqualifies all of us for Heaven. What we rightly deserve is Hell. But God, in His mercy, provided for a way out of the punishment that awaits all of us. He gave His sinless only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us so that a payment for our sins can be made available. And if we repent of our sins and completely trust Christ and His finish work on the cross for our salvation, we will be forgiven of our sins. Not only that, the perfection of Jesus will be credited to us, making us perfect and now very much qualified to enter Heaven when our life here on earth ends.
A second reason why Christianity is not inclusive is because it is based on truth. Let me explain. For example, if I ask, what is the sum of 1 + 1? The answer, of course, is 2. Now everyone who answers "2" has subscribed to the truth. But anyone who answers differently is wrong, and therefore, excluded from the group of people who knows the answer correctly. Christianity works the same way. It is based on truth. In John 14:6, Jesus said that He is "truth". That means He has set what is "truth". Every truth that's out there came from HIm. There can never be two truths. The sum of 1 + 1 can' t be both 2 and 3. One truth that the Bible tells us is that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father. He is not just one of the ways. Christ was straightforward with it... He is the ONLY way (John 14:6). That means there can't be other ways to get to Heaven, not religion, not good works, not by the five pillars of Islam, not by any self-proclaimed "savior" out there, not by the ways of Buddha and Hinduism. Only by Jesus. This is the reason why statements like "All religions ultimately lead to Heaven" or "All of us are God's children" are wrong. God, the ultimate source of truth and the provider of standards, has decreed with full authority, that there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we can be saved. And that name is Jesus (Acts 4:12).
But despite the exclusiveness of Christianity, the offer for salvation that it gives is to everyone. John 3:16 tells us that "whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John 1:12 also declares, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Yes, Christianity is exclusive. But everyone is invited so that they also can be part of the exclusive partakers of its offer. The Bible is very clear that God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and that He finds no pleasure in the death of a sinner but that he lives (Ezekiel 33:11). God wants Heaven for us, His created beings, that's why He went to the cross to make that possible. But the choice is ours to make and not God's in keeping with the free will He has given us. Just like during the flood in Noah's time. The invitation to enter the ark and be saved from the flood was given to everyone. But sadly, only the family of Noah grabbed the offer and so, the rest of mankind died. Let us not make the same mistake.
We are given such a great opportunity. Choose Christ then you'll receive everlasting life in Heaven; choose sin and you damn yourself to everlasting suffering in Hell. The correct choice is such a no-brainer!
Dennis Aglosolos, the Director of Living Waters - Asia, will be answering questions.