Indeed, so wide is the chasm between Christianity and all the world’s religions that it seems equally clear that Christians will definitely arrive at a different eternal destiny from everyone else. Yes, the various religions differ in the details relevant to the appeasement of their particular god or gods and the methods of attaining to nirvana, moksha, or whatever paradise they may offer. However, they all have in common the belief that their religious goals can somehow be achieved through their own good efforts and/or faithful participation in rituals and sacraments. Whether by yoga or paying off bad karma for the Hindu, or by good deeds for the Muslim (or dying in jihad [holy war] or on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca), or through appeasing the spirits in African tribal religions and Shintoism, or by meditation techniques to escape desire and return to the void for the Buddhist, or by the sacraments of a supposed Christian church—it is all a matter of self-effort, which the God of the Bible firmly tells us He will not accept as even partial payment for having broken His laws.
The Bible clearly states: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans:4:5). Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark:2:17). Paul emphasized that point: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy:1:15). The world’s religions, along with the false Christianity that trust in works and sacramentalism, attempt to make a person righteous enough for heaven. In contrast, the Bible says that everyone by very nature sins, must confess it, and must believe the gospel to receive forgiveness of sins and thereby be admitted eternally into the true God’s presence.
Biblical salvation is by faith, and faith necessarily involves that which is unseen. It is not faith to believe in that which is present in visible form. Faith reaches out to the unseen world of the spirit and the eternal. And right here we encounter a major problem with ritual and sacraments: they attempt a moral rescue of the unseen and nonphysical spirit and soul of man with physical and visible ceremony. That won’t work.