Farmers’ markets have always made me chuckle. People get so excited for a good farmers’ market. You drive up to see tents and booths set up. Everyone is excited walking around, pulling out wallets and paying exceptional prices for fruits and vegetables, not to mention the other products often sold. At a typical market, you can find t-shirts, lip balm, jewelry, chips, various dips, and other natural products available. Almost every vendor claims his or her product is organic, pesticide-free, chemical-free, and healthy.
Walking around, you’ll find bananas for sale for 15 cents a pound, squash for sale at 35 cents a pound, cucumbers for sale at 50 cents a piece, and citrus for sale at “can’t-beat-it” prices. The problem is that they are for sale, at these prices, at 10 different booths. So how do you choose your vendor and your purchases, when everyone is offering the same thing?
The modern religious world is much like this. At one place, the people are proclaiming they have salvation. At another place, they are yelling about their unique offer of redemption. Another group claims they have justification while another is advertising God’s forgiveness. The odd thing about the religious world, though, is that each of these groups claim that while they have the “right” way, they also admit that each other has the right way and that as long as you believe in the common elements they all offer, then you are okay. How can this be if they are all offering different methods? Some claim all you have to do is believe. Others say you must repent. Others say you must pray a specific prayer. How can each of these different answers all be equally right?
The simple answer is that they cannot. The answer to finding salvation is not found in a human organization. No one is saved because they did it some man’s way. The reality is that the only ones who are saved are the ones who do it God’s way. God does not authorize 10 “churches” to offer the same but slightly different answers. This altering of God’s Gospel is condemned in Scripture (cf. Galatians 1.6-9). Paul admits that there is only “one faith,” “one hope” and “one God” who gives us hope (Ephesians 4.4-6). Paul says our hope is found in “one baptism” which “now saves us” (1 Peter 3.21).
The reality is that God does not give us options. God does not give us various but similar choices. God does not give us multiple roads to heaven. God’s market consists of only one booth, offering one truth, and one body of which we can be a part of to hear that truth. May we, as God’s people, always clearly announce that one truth. May we clearly point God’s way and teach God’s salvation as God delivered it to us.
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).