Our modern and sophisticated world is filled with an almost unlimited number of choices: Choices of where we will live, what we will do, what we will eat and wear and what kind and color of car will deliver us to a variety of shops that offer every color, texture, convenience and feature imaginable. We live, simply put, in a world of options. The ability to multi-task has never been so valuable in our world of instant communication through assorted means – the telephone has become almost extinct as a communication aid as Twitter and Facebook and social networking and microblogging and video sharing and podcasting and electronic tablets and cell phones make it possible for us to stay in touch, conduct our business, check on family, visit with friends and fill our grocery cart, all at the same time. There was a time when these were limited, often nonexistent, and some of us pine for that simpler, more unobtrusive time. Dr. Alan Weiss has entitled his most recent book, “Complexity Can Paralyze Us.” Weiss writes, “We are lost in a world of choice.” Indeed, we are often overwhelmed to the point of the loss of our natural mental judgment (“common sense”) by the choices presented to us. We agonize over which grocery store to visit and once there, we wrestle with which brand to purchase with what ingredients and regular size, family size or super size for what price. Take me into Baskin-Robbins for ice cream and I freeze like the 31 flavors offered there. We finally get a break and determine to dine at a quiet restaurant and relax a bit until we are confronted with a dizzying array of menu options – and in our stressed out condition, can’t decide which entrée to order. Some enjoy the smorgasbord; they love variety of choice and endless options. When it comes to eternal matters they embrace an “all roads lead to heaven” approach. What does it matter, they insinuate, if we follow Buddha or Lord Krishna, or Jehovah or Allah. After all, the only thing that truly counts is sincerity, isn’t it? I mean, if I am sincere in my belief, if I truly believe in whatever god or deity or way or system of religious creed does it matter what that belief is, so long as I am honest and sincere? Simple logic would demand that it does matter, even as it matters if one intends to travel in a northerly direction but drives due south: Whatever destination one has in mind will never be found no matter how sincere one believes that driving south will lead him north. Some cry, “foul!” We want a God who gives us more options, more choices. It’s not fair, we contend that He makes the way so narrow and the options so restricted. Can’t we have a choice of who we will worship? Of which tree will provide our sustenance? Those choices didn’t work out well for our first parents: They surely won’t work better for us. In this chaotic and frenetic world of options, choices and preferences, when it comes to the state and the future of our eternal souls, options are severely limited, and for that I am abundantly glad. The Holy Scriptures declare that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” than the name of Jesus. Those same Scriptures instruct us, “Jesus said . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” The Apostle Paul made it forever clear and settled when he wrote to the church at Ephesus,
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
There we have it: No options, no choices, no multiplicity of preference: If we want to see God the Father, if we want to spend eternity in heaven, if we want to be sure and convinced of our election and our position with Him forever, He has made it simple and plain: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” I may not understand all the depths and the mysterious nuances of theology; I may not speak or read or write in the original languages of the Bible, but I can understand simple things, and the simplest of things was made known and available to us in Jesus Christ, “believe” and we are “saved.” One of the greatest theologians to have grace our planet, Dr. Karl Barth was asked during a 1962 tour of the United States, what had been the most momentous theological discovery of his long life. His answer was ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.'” Plumbing the depths of available options and offerings, Dr. Barth (rightly) concluded it’s as simple as this: “Jesus Christ, who loves me and who is God’s only begotten Son is the only way to obtain eternal life.” Believe, and be saved. It’s just that simple. I may not have made the perfect choice in the clothing I wear or the car I drive or the computer I use or the phone that connects me to the friends I’ve chosen, but this I can be assured of: When we talk about faith and the future and where we will go when we leave this earth and this life, there is One Thing that is certain: Only one thing will admit us into heaven: Belief on the name and in the veracity of the claim of one man: The Man, Jesus Christ. I’m glad when it comes to eternal life, the options are limited, the choices are minimized and standing before us, with nail-scarred and open hands is One Man: And that Man, the Lord Jesus Christ bids us open the door of our heart and let Him enter in.