19 What am I saying then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I do say that what they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to participate with demons! 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
~1 Corinthians 10:19-22, HCSB~
Syncretism—the blending of religious beliefs—is a subtle but tremendous threat to our walk with God. Its pervasiveness is spreading throughout the culture at large and creeping into church pews. While it’s a perfectly lovely idea that you can believe whatever you want and still go to heaven, it’s a view that Scripture simply does not support.
Like it or not, the Apostle Peter made it abundantly clear. Speaking of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, a large group of the most powerful Jews in Jerusalem, Peter boldly proclaimed:
There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. ~Acts 4:12, NLT~
But, isn’t it okay to accept other religious beliefs as long as we include Jesus, too? Not according to the Apostle Paul, who says, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21, HCSB). In verse 19, the apostle admonishes his readers not to “participate with demons.” The tried-and-true KJV translates this phrase as, “I do not want you to have fellowship with demons,” and the original Greek word, koinonos denotes being a partner or companion.
Paul’s letter to Timothy, the leader of the first-century church at Ephesus, still stands as a warning to believers today:
Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. ~1 Timothy 4:1, NLT~
Further, he tells the Galatians, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Galatians 1:8, NIV).
The notion that all roads lead to God affords to any and all belief systems the same weight as the cross Christ bore. The weight of all our sins… the weight of our salvation… the weight of redemption and reconciliation with God the Father was a burden that only the sinless, spotless Son of God, Jesus Christ, had the ability—and the right—to bear. John the Revelator describing his vision of the Throne Room of God, wrote:
2 And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. 4 Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. 5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” ~Revelation 5:2-5, NLT~ (emphasis added)
Any time we give the sayings of Buddha or the teachings of Muhammad equal weight with the Word of God… Any time we espouse that “Allah” is just another name for Yahweh… Any time we accept the Hindu Trimurti as equal with the Holy Trinity… We are accepting a different gospel. Anything we sacrifice to, pray to, trust in or worship that isn’t Jehovah—the one and only, true and living God—is at best an idol, at worst a demon.
Only Jesus was worthy to bear the cross. Only Jesus will be worthy to open the scroll. Only Jesus is worthy of our honor, praise and devotion. Only Jesus can save.
“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'” ~Acts 2:38, NIV~