Kingdom Back Door
Apple Inc. and the U.S. Government are at odds over an iPhone. Not just any iPhone, but one that has been linked to the tragic San Bernardino shooting. The government wants Apple to help them unlock the iPhone. Apple is accusing the government of overstepping its power. Both sides are judging one another’s motives, while speculation from the experts abounds.
In the past, authorities could access a “back door” into a cell phone, which is a secret path known only to a close circle of developers. When I was a kid, our family had a secret way to enter our house through a back door. It’s a family secret so I can’t tell you. Chances are you had one too. But the iPhone in question doesn’t have a back door, and in addition, it possesses a special feature that erases its data after several failed attempts to guess the security code.
Some people think there really is a back door but Apple isn’t saying. Others say the government could open the iPhone if they wanted to, but are using the San Bernardino case to gain access to other electronic devices.
All of this talk of an iPhone back door reminds me of the lengths to which people will go to find an alternate route into heaven. The Bible says Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” and the only pathway to God (John 14:6). But some say all roads lead to heaven. The Bible says those who reject God’s offer of salvation will be lost in hell for eternity. But some say a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to hell. Even among those who accept the need for salvation, there are some who attempt to reach heaven by good works, or through an association with a specific religious group.
The Biblical definition of salvation is clear: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) There does not appear to be a back door. We are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus. This is the “key” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16:16-19. Had there been another way, Jesus wouldn’t have come. And He certainly wouldn’t have suffered the agony of the cross.
Yet, humanity keeps searching for another way. It doesn’t seem possible there would only be one way to heaven. There is always another way. If you don’t believe it, watch a few old James Bond classics. Just when you think 007 is out of options he surprises everyone and finds a way out of trouble. Fortunately, his enemies are all horrible shots and he always has the perfect technology for the moment.
I must confess I wish there was a back door into heaven. I would like to think the people I have failed to share Christ with are going to make it to there regardless. It would be nice to see some of my favorite dead writers, musical artists and world leaders there, even though they openly rejected Christ. When I talk with others about their souls I would like to be able to say, “Don’t worry. If you accept Christ, that’s a good thing, but if you don’t, I am sure God will let you in anyway.”
But I can’t.
It isn’t my place.
When we know there is a back door, there is no real need for urgency. But without one, every sunset marks another day when thousands of souls are lost.
It is hard to live with such a thought. But it is exactly the burden I believe God wants us to have for the lost. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
How would your approach to lost souls change if you were convinced there was no back door?