In simple layman’s terms, religious pluralism upholds the belief that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to God. They openly deny Christ’s superiority as the one and only redeemer of mankind. It’s utter falsehood second only to the lie the devil told Eve in the garden of Eden. Unfortunately, the line between truth and falsehood is so fine we can’t discern the difference unless we scrutinize everything under the microscope of God’s word. Tonight, I will help you do just that. We will look at three truths from the book of Hebrews 1:1-13 that affirms Christ’s superiority over religious pluralism.
1. Christ is the final Revelation
I want to draw your attention to the original recipients of the epistle before walking you through Hebrews 1:1-3. In the first century, there in Jerusalem was a discouraged Jewish Christian community who doubted Jesus and the Gospel in the light of the Old Testament prophets and their message. Their faith was being influenced by Jews who believed Jesus is inferior to the Prophets. So, Paul reestablishes Jesus’ superiority over Prophets by recognizing three unique characteristics of Jesus.
• The Prophets were God’s messengers. Jesus, however, wasn’t just another messenger. He is the message.
• The Prophets proclaimed everything God told them. Jesus, however, is the fulfillment of everything the Prophets proclaimed.
• The Prophets proclaimed an incomplete revelation. Jesus however, is God’s complete revelation of Himself to man.
Prophets are no longer needed because Jesus is the sum of all prophecies. Revelations are no longer necessary because Jesus is the sum of all revelations.
On the 4th of May in the year 2000 email users around the globe received an email. The subject said “I Love You” and the message, “kindly check the attached love letter coming from me.” That day ten million users who opened the attachment had their computers infected by a virus that destroyed all the files in them. Since then the experts have introduced a rule governing email use: “Don’t open it unless you trust the sender.”
We can trust Jesus because we can trust the sender. God has placed his seal of approval and authenticity on him, (Matthew 3:17). God wants us to listen to him, (Luke 9:35). Can we tell the same about all the other religions and their founders starting with Mohammed and the Koran to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon to Mary Baker Eddy and her teachings? It is not so. Jesus is the final revelation. We are to reject every other revelation even if an Angel from heaven happens to preach it, (Galatians 1:8). It makes him superior to every other faith and so-called Prophet in a religiously pluralistic world.
You may say, “but how do I grasp a revelation by a guy who walked this earth over 2,000 years ago?” The answer is simple. Read God’s word, (John 1:1-3). Do you want to know the truth? Then don’t listen to anyone but Jesus. When you do you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free, (John 8:32). That brings me to the third reason that upholds Jesus’ supremacy in a religiously pluralistic world.
2. Christ is the ultimate Saviour
Let’s consider Hebrews 1:3 now. The non-believing Jews I mentioned before maintained that salvation is impossible without circumcision. This was widespread false teaching which Paul refuted frequently, (Galatians 2:11-14). Now Paul implies to his Jewish Christian brethren they don’t have to do anything to be saved (In fact, they can’t. There’s nothing they can do to be saved) because Jesus fulfilled the law through his blood which he willfully and voluntarily shed on the cross. He paid the ransom for our redemption once and forever with his life that he laid down willfully and voluntarily on the cross.
In all of these, he made salvation a gift freely available to everybody willing to receive by faith. It would be utter foolishness for those Jewish Christians to return to Judaism when provisions have been made for such great salvation, (Galatians 3:1). Paul was a man of the law himself. He did not despise it. Still, he knew it was futile to believe one could earn his salvation by being religious.
During a certain war, a Colonel approached a Red Cross Representative in charge of food with the hopes of buying some for his sick and wounded rough riders. The Red Cross Representative, however, refused to sell him any. Perplexed the colonel asked others why the representative wouldn’t sell. They said, “Colonel, just ask for it.” Now he understood. the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.
According to Adherents, there are some 4,300 religions in the world today. Throw the 20 remaining mainline religions into the mix and we have four thousand three hundred twenty religions. What does that say? Religion has failed 4,320 times already and the world hasn’t even noticed. Religion is the devil’s hall of fame. Man’s hall of shame.
Religion cannot save us because we are born with sin. It’s embedded so deep within us that works of merit cannot uproot it. We are corrupted from within and religion cannot restore us to our original condition. Religion cannot buy us our salvation. But the blood of Jesus is capable of doing all of these. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one shall see the Father except through him, (John 14:6). He is the ultimate savior because no other god has died for humanity. Salvation is found in him only and it’s free to receive by faith. This is the other reason why Jesus is supreme over religious pluralism.
3. Christ alone is the Lord
Finally, let’s consider Hebrews 1:4-13. Paul dedicates these verses to highlighting Jesus’ supremacy over the Angels. Jews believed not Christ but angels would rule the world one day. Therefore, making this distinction was a necessity. Angels are the highest creatures among all the created beings. Even man God’s crown creation is below them in the hierarchy, (Psalm 8:5).
But Jesus is far more superior even to the Angels because He is the Son. While Angels were created the Son was begotten. They bow down before Him in adoration and worship as the Father God has commanded them to do. Paul’s point is simple. Christ deserves total allegiance.
If Jesus is superior even to the Angels then how much more he is superior to all the so-called Prophets, all the Religions, and all the Philosophers and their Philosophies the world has ever known?
Paul was probably thinking of the Christians being fed to wild animals back in Rome when he penned these words about the superiority of Christ to the Angels. Ancient Rome was a religiously pluralistic empire. The imperial cult of Rome identified emperors and members of their families as gods. The subjects of the Roman empire had to pay tribute to the emperor by burning incense on his statues. Refusal to comply was treason. Christians were considered enemies of the emperor and became targets of state-sponsored persecution because they refused to pay tribute to the emperor. They firmly believed Jesus alone is Lord. They didn’t show allegiance to man or the gods he invented.
When observing the major religions and philosophies in the world, we cannot help but notice they were founded by mere men. Buddhism by Siddhartha Gautama, Islam by Mohammed, Taoism by Lao Tzu, Jainism by Mahavira, Confucianism by Master Kong who came to be known as Confucius later and the list goes on. Christianity on the other hand is not the work of men. It is the work of the Lord Jesus himself. the name which man gave to the way the Lord Jesus himself founded. This is why every other religion, philosophy, and folk belief is inferior to Christ. Jesus Christ is the Lord. It’s the final reason why Jesus is superior in a religiously pluralistic world.
In conclusion, let’s find out what God expects from us in the light of the book of Hebrews. First, we should not look for or expect any new revelation because Christ is God’s complete and final revelation of himself. Hence anyone who claims to have further or new revelation is mistaken or a false prophet fabricating falsehood. Any so-called revelation that challenges or denies the inerrancy and the infallibility of the revelation already given in the Word of God is deceptive and disastrous.
Second, Jesus is the ultimate savior of mankind. We don’t have to do anything extra to earn God’s favor because Jesus is God’s final and sufficient sacrifice for our sins. Religion, Philosophy, and not even the countless number of Christian denominations can save us. Only the blood of Jesus can because salvation is a gift receivable only by faith in Christ.
Third, Jesus alone is Lord. We are ought to pay him total allegiance because he has earned it by laying down his life for us. It should be noted though to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ is to admit his supremacy over a religiously pluralistic world and it calls for a sacrifice. Think about it this way. Chicken & Pig to give the king a nice breakfast of ham & eggs. For the chicken it’s a commitment, for the pig, it’s a total sacrifice!
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