Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is Jesus The Only Way To God?

Is Jesus The Only Way To God?
It sounds like a very narrow statement to say that nobody can know God unless they come to Him through Jesus Christ, and indeed this statement excludes many.  Are Christians being unfairly exclusive to make such a claim?  Is this a statement of arrogance from elitist Christians or is it the truth of God?
If Christians believed that faith in Christ is the only way to God and they refused to share that with others then we would certainly have a clear example of spiritual arrogance.  However, while Christians believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to God they do not believe that this faith is not available for others.  The same people who are accused of narrow-minded arrogance are the same people who give freely of their resources for the sake of others.  Followers of Christ give time, money, even their lives so that others may hear this message of good news.  It is precisely because of Christian love for others and concern for their eternal destiny that we strive to be the hands of God’s grace working among humanity with this message of reconciliation for all peoples.
This statement of exclusivity is not initiated by some group of Christian elitists but is the clear testimony of Scripture:
  • Acts 4:12 states, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  After having been arrested for preaching the gospel of Jesus and then released, Peter and John were told by the Sanhedrin that they must cease proclaiming the message of Christ.  Peter responds with this statement of deepest conviction by saying that he could not be silenced regarding Jesus because there is no other name in all the universe by which men can be saved other than the name of Jesus.  This deep and cherished belief eventually cost Peter his life as he died a martyr’s death for the sake of the gospel.  The great apostle recognized that only Jesus had paved the way to God and only faith in Him could save men from their sins.
  • 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”  The word “mediator” means one who works for the sake of two parties to bring peace and restoration to a broken relationship.  This is exactly what Jesus has done in His sacrificial death on the cross.  We were separated from God because of our own personal rebellion against His commands.  The relationship between God and humanity was severed and in need of a mediator.  The Bible says Jesus has come to provide that mediation and all who receive His peacemaking work by faith are restored to a right relationship with God.
  • 1 John 2:23 states, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”  The Bible clearly explains in this passage that there is an indivisible union between knowing God the Father and Jesus.  To deny the Son of God (Jesus) is to not have the Father but to acknowledge (know, receive) the Son is to also know the Father.  The plain truth of this text is that there is no way to know God without knowing Jesus.
  • John 14:6 may be the most convincing verse of all regarding the exclusivity of Christ.  It states, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  These words were originally written in the Greek language, which like English has a definite article (the) and two indefinite articles (a, an).  The method of using the indefinite articles (a, an) in Greek is to simply omit the definite article (the) which is the way this was written in the original text.  So to simplify the point let me say that Jesus could have easily said, “I am a way, a truth, a life.”  But He didn’t say that at all.  He said, “I am the way, the truth, the life.”  In other words Jesus said that He is the only way to God, the only truth of God, and the only life from God.  There is no way to God outside of Him.  And then to emphasize His point He adds another statement, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”    
Anyone can now see that the claim of Christians that Jesus is the only way to God is not a statement of elite narrow-mindedness invented by theologians but is the clear testimony of the Bible.  But does this simply transfer the blame of arrogance from Christians to Christ Himself?  Are Christians proclaiming a message of narrow arrogance or does Jesus have the right to claim that He is the only way to God?    
The credibility of Jesus is on trial by many but please consider the fact that Jesus lived a perfect life.  Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Even the Roman centurion responsible for the crucifixion of Christ said, “certainly this was a righteous man.”  (Luke 23:47)  And there was also Pontius Pilate who officiated a trial immediately before the murder of Jesus who said, “I find no fault in Him.” (John 19:6).  Jesus speaks not only as a good moral teacher but also as the one man in history who fulfilled a perfect moral life in every point.  As the only sinless man to have ever lived His words are credible pertaining to the way to God.
Please also consider that Jesus died a perfect death.  2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us”.  Isaiah 53:6 says, “the LORD has laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity of us all”.  1 Peter 2:24 says that Jesus, “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” and “God set (Jesus) forth as a propitiation by His blood” in Romans 3:25.  Propitiation is a really nice word to explain that the wrath of the holy God has been appeased in the death of Jesus for all those who believe in Him.  We deserve judgment for our rebellion against God and the judgment we deserve has been poured out upon Jesus.  No other man in history has died as a substitute to save humanity from their sins.  Many teachers have offered profitable advice but no one has the credibility of Christ as Savior who died to save men.
There is also the historical fact that Christ rose from the dead.  They took His dead body off of the cross and buried him in the tomb of a wealthy man named Joseph.  It took several men to roll the large stone over the opening of that rock-hewn grave and they then placed the Roman seal over that stone to ensure uninterrupted protection of the site.  There were then Roman soldiers installed to guard the tomb.  This was on Friday evening and Saturday things remained the same.  But on Sunday morning something previously unknown to man miraculously occurred.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead and left that tomb empty.  The Jewish leaders bribed the guards and instructed them to say that Jesus‘ followers had stolen the body while they were sleeping.  But all they had to do to disprove the resurrection of Christ was provide His body, and they never could.  Then there were all of the hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive after He very clearly had died and been buried.  All the opponents of Jesus need do then to disprove the resurrection of Christ was to coerce these witnesses into recanting their faith and profess they had lied.  Even in the most intense persecutions  and executions these martyrs went to their death professing Jesus is alive while praying for their persecutors.  Would you die for a lie?  I wouldn’t and neither did they.  The simple and miraculous truth is that Jesus rose from the dead and is today the living savior.  The unanimous profession of Christ’s followers was and still is, “He is risen!”  No other man has ever accomplished so much.  He lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose from the dead.  Therefore He speaks with perfect credibility when He claims to be the only way to God.  Romans 10:9 says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

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