Teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus taught some things that caused even a number of His disciples to say, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:59-60). “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68). The question asked by Peter was a rhetorical question. No answer was expected nor needed. Jesus and His word was the only answer to the question of whom or what should be followed in one’s effort to reach eternal life in heaven. Though great strides have been made since then in the realm of science, medicine, technology and knowledge, the answer is still the same today. Where else could one possibly go to realize eternal life in heaven? Let us consider some of the avenues some take and note why they fall short of being effective.
First, it is not at all unusual to find those who just follow the beliefs and practices of the multitudes. However, Christianity is not a democracy where the masses are given the right to vote, with whatever the majority chooses being that which will be done. Christianity is a theocracy whereby the Lord is the absolute ruler, with all that He legislates being what is bound upon the people. It matters not one bit what the multitudes believe or practice. As Moses commanded the children of Israel; “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo. 23:2). In fact, when one goes through the Bible he will see that time after time, the multitude is in the wrong and the minority is in the right. In the days of Noah, only eight people of the masses upon the earth at that time were saved (I Pet. 3:20). When the children of Israel were freed from Egyptian bondage, of the six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty men that were numbered, only two, Joshua and Caleb made it to the promise land (Num. 32:11-12). Friends, if every one else on the face of the earth believes and practices something other than what God said, do not follow them, they are wrong.
Secondly, multitudes follow tradition. Tradition is simply that which has been done in the past and is passed down from generation to generation. A belief or practice is not right or wrong based solely on tradition. Traditions can be right and traditions can be wrong. The Lord spoke of one of the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees and said, “Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matt. 15:6). He also told them, “Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9). Prior to becoming one of God’s children, Paul said that he had been “exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:14). However, the same Paul spoke of the need for those of Thessalonica to “follow after the tradition which he received of us” (II Thess. 3:6). The fact that tradition can be right or it can be wrong is the very reason why following tradition is not a safe guide to eternity; they can be wrong. If you are what you are, if you believe what you believe, if you practice what you practice, only because it is the way you were raised, it is that which your family has traditionally done, you are placing your soul in unsafe hands.
Thirdly, personal feelings are not a safe guide if one wishes to enjoy the heavenly bliss. Never in the entire Bible has God left it up to man’s feelings to determine what is right or wrong. Peter told Simon the sorcerer when he thought that he could purchase the gift of God, “Thou has neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:20-21). Prior to becoming a Christian, Paul thought that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9). Paul had “made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison” (Acts 8:3), yet he could say later, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day” (Acts 23:1). He did what seemed right to him, but as the wise man Solomon said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Finally, the doctrines and commandments of men are certainly not the guide to heaven. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:8-9). Jesus also said, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). To follow the teachings of mere men is to follow those who have no authority whatsoever to map out the way to heaven.
This brings us back to those words of Peter. After asking, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” he said, “thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). There is no where else to go for true guidance in the journey to heaven than God’s word!
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