(The following is taken from the e-book, “How To Find Peace With God (Answers From The Book About Salvation).” If you missed the first part of this series, please Click Here. If you would like to receive the entire e-book (in PDF format), please write me at email@example.com)
Why Is Jesus Christ The Only Way?
Choice is a feature that is greatly cherished. As human beings, we simply do not like being told what we can and cannot do, preferring to have a selection from which to decide what we personally like best. Resisting the notion of anyone else thinking for us, we cling tenaciously to our prerogative to choose one thing above another, exercising our own preferences in everything from the color of the cars we drive to the restaurants we frequent. One of the greatest liberating conditions of adulthood, eagerly anticipated by most adolescents who feel the weight of the “oppression” caused by their parents and elders constantly dictating their selections, is the ability to decide for ourselves many of the details in our lives.
Freedom and the enjoyment of certain inalienable rights, rights to determine our own paths and which opportunities to pursue, are cornerstones of any democracy and benefits envied by those living under more repressive forms of government. The right to choose in even the most mundane and routine details of life is an advantage that few of us are willing to forfeit. Much blood has been shed and many wars waged for no other purpose than the retention of the freedom to choose by a people whose ability to do so was threatened. Deeply ingrained within us is the value of having the right to make our own decisions, regardless of how self-detrimental, absurd or illogical they might appear to others; to determine our own destiny (and which path we will take to reach it) is a privilege we are all reluctant to surrender. Compulsory conformity is an anathema resisted and detested by those living in a free society, and a burden begrudged by those who do not. We all enjoy expressing our individualism and exercising our right to choose for ourselves.
It is little wonder, therefore, that so many people bring this same perspective to matters of religion. If individual expression and personal choice are celebrated and encouraged in areas as mundane as the clothes styles we wear and the decorations with which we adorn our homes, how much more in an area so filled with diversity and variety as spirituality? No other area of human experience is more deeply personal, more sacred, more revered, than an individual’s religious beliefs and the right to worship whatever and however each person chooses is seen as a freedom that must be defended at all costs. The United States was founded on principles such as these, with many of the original Colonies being founded for the purpose of enjoying the liberty to worship without the fear of persecution. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion for all Americans without interference from the Government.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
It would stand to reason, according to man’s thinking, that God would allow people to find their own path to Him, based on their own cultural context and personal preference. If a person is raised in a certain religious environment, then they should be free to pursue the Living God through the practice of that particular religion. Yet we see nothing of this sort of teaching in the words of Christ. In fact, nowhere in the Bible do we find any hint of the “many paths to God” approach. Throughout the Word of God, the path set down for man to walk on, the stipulated way to come to the Lord, is always straight and narrow. There is never any accommodation for deviating from the prescribed manner that God has revealed.
The idea that many different paths all lead to God was conceived in the heart of man, not God. Jesus clearly stated that He is the only Way to come to the Father. There simply is no other way. Christians are often accused of being “narrow-minded” or bigoted because they believe that Christ is the only Way, but this notion did not first come from the mouths of Christians, but from Christ Himself. He declared it to be so.
Why would a loving God, some might ask, be so exclusionary? Why would God establish only one Way to be saved? Why would God not allow people to choose their own path to come to Him? First of all, let us consider that in John 14:6 Jesus states that He is not only the Way, He is the Truth. Truth is never broad, it is always narrow. There are many, many answers to the question, “What is two plus two?”, but there is only one correct answer. Four is the correct answer, it is the truth. We could say that it is very “narrow-minded” and bigoted to not accept another answer, but the fact remains that only four is the right answer. The truth is narrow and it excludes all false answers.
To believe that God has provided multiple paths leading to Salvation is to suggest that what He has done through Christ is either insufficient or unnecessary. If man is free to choose some other method to come to God, then the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is rendered utterly meaningless and is a barbaric superfluity of the rankest order, a cruel and sadistic procedure that was carried out without any real purpose. If we may reach Heaven by some other means than Christ, then Christ has surely died in vain. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His atoning death on the Cross becomes, not a selfless act of love, but a senseless and wanton act, a trivial martyrdom.
Looking back at the earlier illustration of the judge who paid the debt of his son, consider if the son had decided that he would attempt to reconcile his debt by some other means. What if the son had rejected the check his father handed to him and said that he would just go out on his own and try to borrow a few dollars here and there in order to make restitution? No thanks, I will do it my own way. This is what the son would have essentially been telling his father had he declined the offer, and this is what we tell God when we reject His offer of Salvation through Christ. What a slap in the face of our Creator when we carelessly reject the gift He is freely giving us, the gift that He has obtained for us at such a great price.
The life blood of Jesus Christ was spilled so that we may find Salvation in Him. There is no other path leading to God because there is no one else who could pay our sin debt, nor are we able to pay it ourselves. Only Someone Who is completely without sin, free from the guilt of iniquity, can serve as a Substitution on our behalf. Christ is the only One Who has ever lived a sinless life, being blameless of any iniquity yet receiving the penalty due a sinner. He chose to offer Himself up as a Ransom, the Lamb of God upon Whom all the sins of mankind would be placed. Jesus Christ was uniquely capable of fulfilling this role, for anyone else who would have died on that Cross would have been unable to pay the price for any sins other than their own.
Not only is the rejection of God’s offer of Salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ an affront to His Divine love and mercy, but it also causes the guilt of the person declining God’s gift to remain. The wrath of God abides on the individual because the Lord’s holy righteousness is unsatisfied.
It is only through faith in the finished, redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ that anyone can be saved, there exists no other way. It is not that God is some sort of insecure, megalomaniac who spitefully wishes to punish and banish those who choose to follow a different religious path; God demands that we come to Him the Way that He has established because no other way works! There is no other name (including our own) that we can trust in that will bring eternal life. We are either trusting in Christ or trusting in something else, and only Christ has paid the penalty for our sins. We can either accept His payment for our sins or we can receive the penalty owed to us; there is no other option.