5 God Accepts All Sincere Worship—Is It True?
What you may have heard: “Just as many paths and roads lead to the same destination, there are also many paths that lead to God. Each person must find his own way to God.”
What the Bible teaches: We must be sincere in our worship, avoiding pretense and hypocrisy. Jesus told the religious leaders of his day why God had rejected them: “Isaiah aptly prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far removed from me.’” (Mark 7:6) Yet, sincerity alone does not guarantee that God will accept our worship.
Jesus made this clear by exposing the key flaw in the worship offered by those religious leaders and their followers. He applied to them God’s words: “It is in vain that they keep worshiping me, because they teach as doctrines commands of men.” (Mark 7:7) Their worship was “in vain,” or useless, because they put their religious tradition ahead of God’s requirements.
Instead of supporting the idea that there are many acceptable ways to approach God, the Bible teaches that there is only one. Matthew 7:13, 14 says: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”
How knowing the truth helps you: Imagine how you would feel if you had trained for months to run a marathon and you had finished the race in first place, but then you were disqualified for unknowingly violating one of the rules. You could feel that all your effort was wasted. Could something like this happen with our worship of God?
Comparing our worship to an athletic competition, the apostle Paul wrote: “If anyone contends even in the games, he is not crowned unless he has contended according to the rules.” (2 Timothy 2:5) We gain God’s favor by worshipping him “according to the rules,” that is, in the way that he approves. We cannot choose our own path to God any more than a runner can run wherever he wants to and still expect to be declared the winner of the race.
To please God, we must keep our worship free of lies about him. Jesus said: “The true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) We learn the true path to God from his Word, the Bible.—John 17:17.a
a For more information on the worship that God approves, see chapter 15 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?
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Do all religions teach people to worship God as he approves?