Is Jesus Really the Only Way to God?

1. Is Jesus Really The Only Way to God?
Romans 6:23; John 3:16

Although this is presented as an intellectual question, it is primarily being asked at an emotional level - we wonder about friends and family members who live very moral lives but aren't following God or someone who believes in a religion other than Christianity.

In a world of billions of Muslims, millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc. how can Christianity claim such exclusivity?  The Bible, in Acts 4:12, has a rude and offensive claim: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” No one else? No other name? Really?!  In a world of tolerance and acceptance, to make such a claim seems boastful, arrogant and offensive.  We live in a society that rightly values equality, but equality amongst ideas and ideologies has to be approached with caution.

Claim #1: “All Religions Are the Same”

Many religions have similar values.  They may appear similar on the surface, but very different upon deeper examination.

Christianity claims Jesus is the Messiah; Judaism claims Jesus is not. Islam says Allah is the only true God, and anyone who says Christ is the Son of God will be condemned. It is impossible for these religions to be the same when they are so contradictory on the most basic of tenants.

Christianity is unique from other religions in that it is based on love, not fear:

"For God so LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
 John 3:16

If is based on redemption, not judgment:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to same the world through him."
John 3:17

And is reliant upon God’s rescue, not human effort:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9.

Religion attempts to earn favor with God by humanity reaching up towards the heavens; Christianity secures God’s favor by Christ reaching down from heaven to rescue humans.

Claim #2: “All Religions Are Equally Valid”

People may say, “No one has the right to say they’re right and everybody else is wrong - that’s arrogant and imperialistic!” Ironically - they’re claiming they are right and others are wrong.

The debate about Christianity has shifted from “is it true” to “was anyone offended.” Saying that Christianity is right does not mean that Christians are right about everything, or that they are superior to non-Christians, nor does it justify bad behavior towards other people.

The claim is not “Christianity is right; all other religions are wrong.” There are elements of truth in all religions. It’s that Christianity is the best, most clear, and fullest expression of the reality of God and life.

Christianity does not teach that only Christians deserve to go to heaven; rather it teaches that no one deserves to go to heaven.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 3:23

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23

Eternal life is accessible to anyone and is intended for everyone (making it one of the most inclusive religions in the world). It’s exclusive in that no matter how hard you try, you will never secure salvation by your own goodness. But it’s inclusive in that the most evil among us can receive eternal life.

So what? Truth is not a proposition to be debated, defended and decided upon. Truth is embodied in a person who said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 4:6) He is unique because all other religious leaders pointed the way to God, only Jesus said, “I Am the way to God.”

As Christians who believe that we are, and can only be, rescued through Jesus...we have no right to boast in anything other that Jesus. There is no action or way of living that makes us better than anyone else.  We are the same as anyone else, lost in sin, in need of rescue. So if we are to make such bold claims of exclusivity we must do so with a gentle spirit and with respect.

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1 Peter 3:15).

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