By Ernest O'Neill

Can We Be Accepted by God by Being With the Right People?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

Another way in which we are deceived into this idea that if we are identified with a group, we will be received by God as part of a group, no matter what we are like -- is found in the great happening that is taking place now (1987) in different countries of the world, as one man visits these various countries.

Do you know that even Northern Irish Protestants (I know of at least one Northern Irish Protestant – myself!) would love to be a Polish Catholic?  The reason is because of that dear man now visiting people all over the world-- Pope John Paul.  I think he makes us all want to be Polish Catholics because he is such a bright and dear person.  When you see him holding up a baby and smiling, and when you see him reaching out with a smile to touch all the people, you feel, "Ah, he is a godly man!  Thank God for him!"

Yet, it is very easy for us to pervert that kind of thing.  We think of Pope John Paul, or of Billy Graham, or of some other men of God.  We think that they must certainly know God and God must certainly know them.  Maybe if we can touch them or if we can be their friends, or if we can be close to them -- then maybe we will be received by God along with them.

Or, many of us apply that to a group.  We look for a group that seems to have a spiritual integrity, and seems to do and act the way God's people are meant to.  We become a part of that group, and we think that since we are a part of this group, we will not be left behind when they are received into God's presence.

Now, loved ones, human beings cannot help us in our salvation at all.  God has no grandchildren.  God has no friends of friends.  God has only children and his own personal friends.

You have that expressed in 1 Corinthians 3:5:  "What then is Apollos?  What is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building."