Is Jesus really the ONLY way to God? What about all of the other religions people practice–Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Shino, Hinduism, and others–surely they can’t ALL be misguided? And isn’t it arrogant and narrow-minded of us to insist ours is the only way? Ultimately, wouldn’t it be unfair of God to exclude so many people, if this is true?
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.'” (John 14:6 NCV)
The problem with questions like these is with our presuppositions. We in the twenty-first century developed world tend to approach issues with an attitude of entitlement and work our way forward from there, when in reality, we have no basis for such a presumption because it is patently incorrect that anything short of everything is an injustice committed against us. Where the Divine Power is concerned the reverse is correct–we have nothing, and anything is mercy from Him toward us. And no where is this more obvious than with the issue of how to correctly approach Him. I love the analogy Wayne Styles used (and credit him with many of the ideas presented here) that while a doctor can help in cases of terminal illness, the cause of death is from the illness itself, not from lack of a doctor.
Humankind is sick. So sick, in fact, that we are all dying. We call it a spiritual condition, but it makes one wonder if it is not, in some way science has yet to examine, connected with our physical existence because we are all born with it and short of the Divine work of God in us, none escape its progression as we mature. Our illness is a deadness of heart and mind toward Him–a lack of desire to know and associate with our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer God–and it is the fulfillment of what He revealed would happen if sin were allowed entry into our world, “…for in the day that you eat of it [disobey] you shall die.” (Genesis 2:17 NRSV) They did, of course, disobey, and the rest is history, echoed even in myths like the Greek Pandora’s Box.
God says EVERYONE is lost: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 53:1-3 NIV)
And why does God call the person who denies His existence a fool? It is because it is so obvious–there is no excuse for ANYONE to not believe He exists. He may not have access to what God has specifically given us in His compiled revealed Word, the Bible, but he has access to the created world and his conscience: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20 NIV) There is no reason for ANYONE to deny God’s existence because the evidence is all around us in the created world!
The irony, of course, is that God is not obligated to save anyone. Humankind brought sin into the world and their spirits–the part of them that knew and loved and was capable of interacting with and pleasing God–did, as He said they would, die that day. We are all born “…dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV) Yet, God, because He is good and kind and merciful, has reached out through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and provided a way for us to be “born again”–to again know Him! But not all will be spared the fate we all rightly deserve, only some.
This is what puts Jesus’ “Great Commission” into the right perspective–what helps us understand the urgency with which previous generations took it. There was a reason why Christ commanded the ones who have experienced forgiveness and acceptance through Him–the “new birth”–to “…go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. [And] Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you…” (Matthew 28:19-20 NCV)
It is because God does not lie. He does not beat around the bush, or obfuscate, or misrepresent–He tells us the truth, because He IS the truth. And what He has said is that in the absence of coming to faith in the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and becoming born again–having our dead spirits be given life–we are all lost forever.
This is why obeying Christ’s command is so important! The bulk of humankind is dead spiritually and on their way to eternal damnation. Jesus Himself warned, “Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to true life. Only a few people find that road.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NCV)
Jesus really is the only way for reconciliation with God. If you’re still unsure, think about it this way. All of the other religions of the world prescribe a path of appeasement of a god or gods–things humankind has to do to work its way toward him or them. But the real God says “You cannot do anything to fix your situation–I’ve done for you what you cannot do yourself. Trust Me, and come to Me [my paraphrase].”
“For if, by the trespass of the one man [Adam], death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!…For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Jesus Christ] the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17, 19 NIV)
So, IS Jesus the only way to come to God? Incontrovertibly! The other world religions are misguided because there is nothing humankind can do to win God’s favor–He had to reconcile us to Himself through Christ. And rather than being narrow-minded, to insist on this truth is God’s mercy to those who do not yet know Him.
So, when you are at school, or work, or the grocery store, or the mall, or among family, or where ever else you find yourself during the course of your day, and the subject of Jesus comes up–what do you do, what do you say? Do you keep quiet, hoping no one finds out what God has allowed you to know? Do you suppress the truth about Him that should be and is obvious to all through creation and the witness of their consciences by failing to speak up? Or, do you bring Him the glory He so rightly deserves for all He is and all He has done for you–by speaking up and attesting to the truth, by witnessing about Him as the trees and the birds and the thunder and earthquakes and all of the natural world cannot fail but do? Jesus IS the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to our Father God except through Him!!!
Thank You that You are the way and the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through You. Don’t ever let me be quiet when I should speak up! Don’t let others die separated from You because I didn’t tell them!! Amen.