Is Jesus the ONLY Way?
Have you ever wondered about these questions:
- Are there many roads that lead to eternal life?
- Are we all eventually going to go to heaven?
- Do all religions point us to God?
- Do we all worship and serve the true God?
- Is religious pluralism pleasing to God?
- Have all religious leaders and teachers taught the same thing?
- Does is really make a difference what we believe?
- Was Jesus merely a good religious teacher?
- Can one have a personal, intimate, spiritual relationship with God?
- Is there only one way to believe and live or are there many ways?
As you read the discussion that follows, keep these questions in mind and try to discover the answers. When you finish this booklet, you should be able to know the truth on these and other crucial issues of life and eternity!
Is Jesus the Only Way?
Is Jesus the only way to heaven? This question has been asked for 2,000 years and answered in a variety of ways. Many people in our world deny that Christ is the only possible way to be forgiven of sin, to come to God, to experience eternal life. What is the truth on this critical issue? This is a fact that will determine our ultimate, eternal destinytherefore we must discover the answer now!
Some religions would claim that salvation (we use this term to mean a relationship with God now and eternal life with Him after death) is found through a prominent religious teacher or leader. For example, Muslims earnestly believe that one must recognize Muhammad as the chief prophet of Allah in order to go to paradise. Millions of Buddhists claim that Buddha found the key to life and that his Four Noble Truths constitute the only way to reach the spiritual goal of nirvana after death. Millions of others look to Confucius as their spiritual teacher and guide. Bahai followers claim that Bahaullah is the last and greatest prophet of God. The Zoroastrians, on the other hand, exalt Zoroaster as Gods special prophet.
Millions more believe that the answer to lifes dilemma is found through a certain avatar or incarnation of Vishnu, such as Krishna or Rama. Hinduism teaches that there were three manifestations of Brahman, namely Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; however, there are an additional 330 million other gods! Other world religions also claim to be the way of spiritual enlightenment. This would include the Jains, Mandeans, Shintoists, Sikhs, and others. Orthodox Judaism would claim that obedience to the Hebrew Torah and religious traditions is the way to please God.
Certain cults or religious movements of Christendom say that the way to heaven is through a prominent teacher, prophet, or leader and his special teachings. Mormons look to Joseph Smith as their prophet and his writings, including The Book of Mormon, as their guide to truth. Christian Science is based on Mary Baker Eddy and her work, Science and Health. Seventh-Day Adventists claim that Ellen G. White is their latter-day prophetess and look to her writings as inspired and authoritative teaching from God. Roman Catholicism is committed to the so-called Pope as the worldwide head of the earthly people of God, one who can communicate Gods message infallibly and authoritatively. Additionally, traditional Catholicism teaches that one approaches the Lord Jesus through the mediation and intercession of Mary, His earthly mother, whom they call Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.
Other religious organizations have looked to certain leaders and their writings as the sole way to heaven. One cult, the so-called Jehovahs Witnesses, claim that Charles Taze Russell discovered the truth of God and that salvation is found, not in the person of Christ alone, but in their organization that supposedly teaches exclusive truth. Numerous other groups, movements, and cults have followed an authoritarian, charismatic human leader, thinking that salvation was to be found in him or her or through his or her divine revelations. Among these would be Jim Jones, Father Divine, Moses David (David Berg), Ezekiel Ataucusi (in Peru), Herbert W. Armstrong, Mark and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Guru Maharaj Ji, Paul Twitchell, Roy Masters, Witness Lee, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Sai Baba, L. Ron Hubbard, Emanuel Swendenborg, Sun Myung Moon, Victor Paul Wierwille, Hobart Freeman, William Branham, and others.
Even in professing Christian circles, many have denied that Jesus is the sole, indispensable means of salvation. They claim that there are many ways to God. Universalism teaches that all people will go to heaven, regardless of what they believe or how they live. The Masonic organization (as well as Eastern Star) claims that wisdom may be found in many different sources and in different religions, and that Jesus Christ is not the only way of salvation. An increasingly popular contemporary view (the so-called inclusivist view) says that good people from all religions will enter heaven even if they have not personally believed in Jesus. One version of this view says that Jesus died for all people and that everyone benefits from this death whether or not they have ever heard of Him, believed in Him, or followed Him. Still others, such as those influenced by the organization known as Alcoholics Anonymous, say that people who believe in God as they understand Him will be welcomed into heaven without following the Lord Jesus.
In an age when pluralism is prized in many nations, vast numbers of people think that all religions have validity and none should be criticized. They assert that it is the height of bigotry for a person to claim that there is only one possible way to please God and eternally experience His presence in heaven. For instance, Joseph Lieberman referred to Muslims, Jews and professing Christians when he said, We are children of the same God and of the same father, Abraham. We are quite literally brothers and sisters. One Muslim, Walter Abdur Rauf Declerck, also referred to the same three religions: We all worship the same God. Increasingly, people assume that good people from various religions, teaching conflicting doctrines, and living different lifestyles will be eternally saved.
All of the diverse views we have examined have one thing in common: They do not give the Lord Jesus Christ His rightful place of prominence and preeminence. They fail to recognize that He is the only way of salvation. Most claim that one need not personally, consciously believe in and follow the Lord Jesus in order to be received by God in heaven.
It is obvious that God, our Creator and Lord, knows the answer to this controversial issue. In this brief article, we cannot deal with all of the positions taken or all of the religions of the world, so we must assume that the reader does recognize the Bible as the true, authoritative, infallible Word of God. With that assumption, let us look at the teaching of Jesus Himself and the inspired words of His followers to discover the truth. This should answer all controversy for those who recognize Jesus as Lord and God (John 20:28), the One who speaks truth (Luke 20:21), and reveals the Word of God (John 12:48-50).
Christ is the Only Way
· I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).
Jesus allows no other way to God in Heaven. He is the only way to God, the only source of saving truth, and the only means of eternal life. All other ways are false and deceptive.
· He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36).
The two destinies are clear. Either we believe in Jesus as the Son of God and receive life, or we refuse to believe and obey the Son and continue under the wrath of God because of our sin.
· There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Salvation is not found in Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Joseph Smith, Zoroaster, or any other human being. It is found alone in Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.
· There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
Notice that there is only one mediator that can bridge the gulf between sinful man and a holy Godit is Jesus Christ!
· I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (John 8:24).
If one dies in his sins, he can only expect to receive eternal separation from God in the horrible lake of fire. Only by believing in Jesus Christ can we escape this dreadful destiny!
· the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:7-9)
Gods retribution and eternal destruction will come on those who do not have a living relationship with the true God and on those who do not respond to the saving message of Jesus Christ.
· God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. . . . He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16,18).
The alternatives are clear. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ receive eternal life; those who do not believe in Him stand under the judgment of God.
· God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 John 5:11-12).
The truth is simple: those who are in Jesus the Son of God experience eternal life, while those who do not have a saving relationship with Christ do not have eternal life. Regardless of how good and religious one may be, our eternal destiny is in Christ!
· The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23).
Everyone who is in sin will die spiritually and suffer the dreadful eternal death of hell; only those who are in a saving relationship with Christ Jesus will receive eternal life with God.
· Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).
Instead of thinking that all people on earth will be saved in their ignorance, Jesus said that the good news of salvation must be taken to all. Only those who consciously believe in Jesus and are baptized are given the promise of salvation; all who do not believe in Christ will be condemned.
· I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture (John 10:9).
Jesus tells us that He is the single door of safety and salvation; He is not one door among many.
· God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Rom. 5:8-9).
All of us, because of our sin, deserve the righteous wrath (anger) of God expressed in judgmentbut Christ Jesus died to save us from that punishment. Christ is the only means of salvation.
· you were at that time separate from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:12)
When one does not have Christ, he has no hope since he is separate from God. We may only have a relationship with God through Christ Jesus and His redemptive death for our sins.
· Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33).
Regardless of how religious a person may be, if he refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ, he will be denied on the Day of Judgment.
· He [Christ] became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
Jesus Christ offers eternal salvation only to those who come to Him in true, believing obedience.
Many other passages in the Word of God affirm that Jesus Christ is the one and only way of salvation from sin and eternal life with God (cf. John 6:53-58; Acts 2:36-40; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 5:9-10; Rev. 3:5 with 20:14-15; 1 Cor. 16:22; 1 John 2:22-23). Lets summarize some of the reasons why Jesus Christ is the only way to God and eternal life:
· Jesus, the eternal Word, was the Agent through whom God created the universe (John 1:3,10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2).
· Jesus presently holds all things together and through Him all things consist (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3).
· Jesus is the image of God, the radiance of Gods glory, and the exact representation of Gods nature (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4-6).
· Jesus alone forgives sin (Acts 13:38; 1 John 2:12).
· Jesus is the only one to be resurrected to new life after death and, at His future return, will raise us by His power (1 Cor. 15:20,22; John 5:28-29; 6:39-40).
· Jesus is life personified and gives eternal life (John 1:3-4; 5:24; 10:27-29; 11:25-26; 1 John 1:1-2; 5:11-12).
· Jesus is our Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor with God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1-2; Heb. 7:25).
· Jesus is our redemption, salvation, righteousness, wisdom, life, and hope (1 Cor. 1:23-24,30; Eph. 1:3-8; Col. 3:4).
· Jesus is the one in whom we must live and dwell to enjoy all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3; 2 Cor. 5:17; John 15:1-8).
· Jesus will come in glory and fire to destroy the heavens and earth (2 Thess. 1:7-9; 2 Pet. 3:7-13).
· Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead (John 5:22-23; Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 2 Cor. 5:10).
· Jesus Christ the Son is just as much God as is God the Father (John 1:1; 20:28; Phil. 2:6; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:8).
From the foregoing truths, we see that Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, is the only possible way of salvation from sin and way to God in heaven. Further, only through a conscious response of repentant faith, expressed in baptism, can one receive the spiritual blessings of salvation that God bestows. Only those who believe in Jesus as the Son of the living God and experience a living relationship with Him, will be forgiven of their sins and receive eternal life with God. The way of Buddha, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Bahaullah, Zoroaster, the Catholic Pope, and every other earthly teacher or leader cannot bring us to God. Those who do not come to God through Jesus Christ alone, will remain in their sins, remain in spiritual death, and remain separated from God for all eternity. Christ is the only way of salvation!
If God has created us (and He has), if God continues to sustain us (and He does), if God has authority over us (and He does), if God is the source of eternal life (and He is), and if God is the one who will determine your eternal destiny (and He will), then we can see how utterly vital it is that we believe in Him, know Him, and obey Him! If Jesus Christ, the crucified, risen and living Savior, is the only way to come to God and receive eternal life in Him, we can plainly see that He answers the questions we asked at the beginning of this pamphlet.
The true followers of Christ Jesus will love people of all religions. They will treat all people with kindness, respect, and patienceregardless of their belief or lack of belief. They will tolerate their beliefs and practices, even though they recognize that they are false. Although they cannot respect or honor these false and destructive beliefs, for they will lead people into eternal separation from a loving God, they will recognize that God allows people to continue in their deception at present and does not coerce them to believe in Him or obey Him. True Christians will not force the truth on anyone or pressure him to give external devotion to the way of God. The Lord God seeks people who will freely choose to believe and follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ.
We can see why sincere truth-seekers will want to thoughtfully consider the facts we have presented in this little booklet. If you, personally, value the truth, please take the time to examine this information carefully. Pray to God for His help in seeing it, then commit yourself to it. Perhaps you can understand better now why those who believe in Christ are uncompromisingly devoted to Jesus Christ. It is because there is no other way to be saved from sin and find eternal life! You can better see why true Christians want to share this good news of salvation with all people! It is because they love God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and want to honor and glorify them. It is also because they love unbelievers and want them to find a living relationship with our loving God through Jesus Christnow and forever!
Will you come to Jesus Christ and find your own source of life, your only true security, your inner peace and joy? Be willing to examine this subject more carefully for it is the most important consideration in your life!
See also: How Inclusive is Salvation?