But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
While in a checkout lane the other day I saw something that immediately made me think of the truth that Christ is the only, YES--ONLY, available means to get to heaven. Outside of Jesus there is no salvation. There was a lower shelf that had new wash cloths for sale. The brand name said "Coexist". They had that Universalist bumper sticker insignia on them that I have often seen which includes the emblems of most of the main world religions on it. The symbols help to make up the letters. The wash cloths were extremely dirty probably because of their location near the checkout lane. Immediately, I could see a true spiritual application. There is no way that a dirty wash cloth can wash away dirt as it needs cleaning before it can be used adequately. Dirt perpetuates more dirt. That is what religion--even religion garbed in a Christless Christianity, does. It leaves you dirty even when you think it is cleansing you!
Jesus said clearly that the last days would be about the deception of religion and that some would even come claiming that they were Him. Furthermore, the Bible is clear that man's religious thought would also amalgamate into one huge mess as the last days approach. Doesn't the idea sound good though? "Let's just all get along and the world will be a better place", many proclaim. Really? Religion will not do you good when you face eternity. All it will do is send you into eternity without preparation. Religion is not good--it sends people to hell. It does not benefit man--it deceives him. It leads him to follow his heart as the Bible proclaims in this verse, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man..." From God's perspective, it brings destruction and that is why the rest of that verse says, "...but the end thereof are the ways of death." For emphasis, this verse appears twice: Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25.
The prophet Isaiah understood this too when he mentioned that our righteousness is as filthy rags. His word in the Hebrew is actually very disgusting. (I'll let you look the Hebrew words up in a concordance--"iddah beged"!!) The point is that religion is worthless. It makes man out to be his own savior by beguiling him into offering his pathetic works up to God in a vain attempt to convince Him that those works are good enough to merit Heaven and show that you are good deep down. Yet, like a criminal who serves his sentence and yet still commits crime, our works do not change our sinful hearts. In the process, the religious one is actually being drawn away from God. How? First, God alone is the Savior! There is no salvation outside of the means He deems acceptable. His means was the sacrifice of Christ at the Cross of Calvary! Remember, He is the offended party and has the right to set the means and method of reconciliation as He sees fit! Second, it is a slap in the face of the work of Christ in that it seeks to offer one's own works up to God instead of trusting in the grace God gives! Grace draws us to Christ while man made religion separates us from him. It only leads to Hell! The only "coexisting" done without Jesus Christ will be in Hell! Turn to Jesus! There is simply no other means of salvation!
God is a God of order and unity. He has one means that stands out so that all can clearly see. It was God's love and mercy that led Him to make Jesus stand out as no other so that He would not be missed by any seriously seeking Heaven! God allowing 3000 different, contradicting, and confusing ways is not love--it is chaos! Therefore, who else stands out as virgin born? Who else worked hundreds of acknowledged miracles, signs, and wonders that were even testified of by His contemporary enemies? Who else lived a sinless, holy life without blame? Who else fulfilled prophecies written about him up to 1000 years before His birth? Who else died and then came back again? Who else claimed to be God and man united in one person? No one! That makes Jesus stand out as no other! He stands out because the blood He shed is God's only acceptable means, and without Him there is no salvation!
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.