They pursued it [righteousness] not by faith but as if it were by works. (Rom. 9:32) 

In the Evangelism and Discipleship course I teach, students are given the assignment of asking fellow students, “How do you think people get into heaven?” Some of the responses they have received are:

“By being a good person.”

“Doing good things for others will get a person to heaven,”

“By individuals trying to do their best.”

Many of the responses were focused on what a person does.

Hindus in India observe Thaipusam. This is an annual festival in which devout Hindus willingly undergo austere physical practices to show their devotion to Murugan, their god of war. They go so far as to pierce their cheeks with spears.

In Malaysia it is not only the cheeks that are pierced. The devout Hindu will allow his entire body to be punctured with tiny hooks. In Thailand, not only are spears used to perforate one’s cheeks but also daggers and swords. Hindus subject themselves to these rituals as a means of attaining higher levels of spirituality, which allows them to receive greater blessings and rewards. It is a religion based on doing.

A Cambodian told me, “I used to follow the religion of my family. However, I always saw it as a religion of painful punishment. I became a Christian when I was told that Jesus Christ took my punishment, once and for all.”

Thank Jesus for taking the punishment for your sin.

Jim “Umf” Lo is a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, cross-cultural leader, intercessor, and author of several books including Unholiness: Overcoming the Forces That Attack Your Soul (WPH).

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.