“’Jesus is the only way to God’ may be the most controversial claim of Christianity, so we had better have good reason for it. And I think we do.” –Brett Kunkel
In American culture today we don’t see the need for forgiveness of our sins. We tend to think that if we just try to live our lives as “good people” then God has to let us into Heaven. But where is the line we cross from being a bad person to a good person? I used to think that the few bad things I’ve done (and do), and the few people that I’ve hurt in this life would not be held against me in the end. If there is a God then he would surely understand that I was just trying to live my life the best that I could, right? At least I knew when I looked around I could find lots of people who were much worse than me, and at least I’m not as bad as Hitler, right? This was until I understood that the only real “good person” that I needed to measure up to was this guy named Jesus, and it was his house I was thinking God owed me entrance into! Would you let someone into your home that you didn’t know? You see when Jesus came he lived a perfect and sinless life and then gave that life to pay so that my sins, my debt, my few mistakes could be erased. (I’ve since come to understand that my few mistakes are enormous in light of God’s perfection). All he asks is that we believe in him, which means we need to trust him. How can we do that if we don’t have a relationship with him? Jesus came to teach us about the truth of this life and to warn us. He came to fulfill God’s promise in the Old Testament and to show us the way to eternal life (his home). How can we understand that if we don’t spend time in his Word, the Bible?
There are several passages in the Bible where Jesus presents himself as the Word, the way, the truth, the life and the door. For example, in John 10:9 Jesus says: “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.” We also find him telling parables symbolizing the entrance into Heaven. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable about some foolish women who did not prepare for the coming of the bridegroom. When the bridegroom finally came they were not there, but others who had been wise in their waiting were there. Upon their realization that he had come the foolish women went knocking on the door demanding to be let in. However, we find him telling them from beyond the door “’truly, truly I say to you I do not know you.’” I don’t want to be told moments after I die that I’m not known by Jesus and therefore cannot come in!
Why is Jesus the only way? Because Jesus is only one who solved the problem of sin. This is the core issue: How do we deal with sin? Other religions don’t give the right answer. None of the leaders of any other religions-Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, any of them-died for your sins. They had sins of their own to pay for. Death is evidence of our sin. After all these years, with all our technology, the death rate is still 100%. But Jesus defeated death by rising from the dead. Death couldn’t hold Him in the grave. –Greg Koukl
A popular idea in culture today is religious pluralism or inclusivism. This means that all religions and views lead to God. Can that claim be taken to a logical conclusion? I don’t think so and here’s why:
- The world’s major religions are fundamentally different. Their beliefs are logically irreconcilable on major issues like God’s identity, Jesus, sin, the spiritual world and the afterlife.
- The world’s major religions are foundationally different. They have dissimilar holy books, leaders, and historical narratives.
- The world’s major religions are salvationally different. They have diverse teachings concerning sin, salvational practices and pathways to eternity.
- Jesus is the only one who came to solve the problem of human suffering and sin, and only he brought hope for the future.
- Jesus is the only one who claimed to be the Son of God and proved it through his ministry, miracles and resurrection.
- Jesus is the only one who fulfilled all of the prophecies given hundreds of years before his time.
- Jesus is the only one who brought not just mercy (forgiveness of debt), but grace (a gift of eternal life).
- Jesus is the only one who said it is done so that we do not have to do anything to earn salvation and entrance into Heaven.
WHOSE HOUSE DO YOU WANT TO SPEND ETERNITY IN?
In my view one of the most important passages in the Bible is John chapter 14. Please study this and ponder what Jesus is really saying because if he is telling the truth then the most important decision you can ever make in your life rests on believing in him.
The Gospel of John, chapter 14 (NLT):
14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.
For further reading I highly recommend “Why is Jesus the Only Way?” by Greg Koukl and the Stand to Reason staff at str.org
Join us next week as we continue our investigation of the Case for Christianity: If God, why evil and suffering?
Let me know what you think:
1. If Jesus is who he claimed to be, and did the things recorded, then we all have a choice to make. Who do you say that Jesus is?
2. Will you choose to follow Jesus into eternity and his eternal home?
Over the next several blogs I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15