From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 18 – Jesus is the only way to salvation
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.John 14:6 (NASB)
11 I, even I, am the LORD,Isaiah 43:11-12 (NIV)
and apart from me there is no saviour.
12I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.
“I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved….”John 10:9(a) (RSV)
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.1 Kings 8:60 (NIV)
To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.Deuteronomy 4:35 (RSV)
24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.John 10:24-27 (ESV)
22He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24“Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.Luke 13:22-24 (RSV)
13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.Matthew 7:13-15 (NASB)
We live in an unusual age in history. The Western church is probably weaker and more lukewarm than it has ever been. And it is more of a mixture of wrong beliefs and false religions than ever before. We see today a strange approach to the idea of ‘tolerance’. All manner of wrong ideas or false religious beliefs will be tolerated freely, but not genuine, biblical Christianity.
A man can believe in Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, the New Age, yoga, spiritualism, paganism, Roman Catholicism, liberal wishy-washy Christianity, or a mixture of any or all of the above, and nobody will complain. However, if someone believes in genuine, biblical Christianity and says so openly, then people will aggressively object, and seek to silence him. However, there is no getting away from the fact that God says there is no God besides Him:
5“I am the LORD, and there is no other;Isaiah 45:5-7 (NASB)
Besides Me there is no God
I will gird you, though you have not known Me;
6That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun
That there is no one besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other,
7The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing well-being and creating calamity;
I am the LORD who does all these.
The main thing the world objects to is Jesus’ claim to be the only way to salvation. We could make Jesus far more popular if we were to present Him as one of the ways to salvation, or a way to reach God, or a Prophet or an example of how to live. If we were to present Him as just another option then few people would object to Him, or to us. But look how the apostle Peter presents Jesus:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:12 (NIV)
Peter does not pull his punches. He tells it like it is, no matter how much controversy is caused. Look also at what apostle Paul says:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV)
Note also how apostle Peter refers to Jesus as being the Prophet, namely the very special prophet that Moses had said God would send. This is first referred to in Deuteronomy:
15“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren—him you shall heed— 16just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the Lord said to me, ‘They have rightly said all that they have spoken. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (RSV)
Peter tells us that Jesus is this unique Prophet, whose coming was foretold by Moses:
19Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old. 22Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren as he raised me up. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days. 25You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your posterity shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness.”Acts 3:19-26 (RSV)
So, we know that Jesus is the Prophet that Moses said would come, whose words we must listen to or else we would be destroyed. Interestingly, Islam claims that Mohammed is actually this Prophet. But he is not. It is Jesus and only Jesus. At any rate, that is the choice you have to make, as it cannot be both. Either Jesus or Mohammed must be a false prophet, otherwise words have no meaning.
Then look at what apostle John says:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.John 14:6 (RSV)
11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 John 5:11-12(NIV)
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.1 John 5:20 (NIV)
Whether we like it or not, and whether it makes us popular or not, Jesus also makes some startlingly absolute and exclusive statements about Himself. He does so in a stark and uncompromising way which, by today’s standards, would be viewed as deeply “intolerant”. It entirely contradicts the whole secular/liberal agenda of “diversity”. Therefore, if you say that Jesus claims to be the only way to salvation, many people will take offence.
Strangely, the strongest objections are from liberal nominal churchgoers, rather than outright unbelievers. They have fallen for the diversity agenda and say that a Jesus who claims to be the only way to God is not the kind of Jesus that they would want to believe in.
Many will accept Jesus as a teacher, but not as “Lord” because, if He is Lord, then that means He is way above every other person or religion. They don’t like that. But look at what Jesus Himself says:
25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”John 11:25-27 (NASB)
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.John 13:13 (NIV)
Likewise many will accept Him as a prophet, but not as the Son of God. However, look at what Jesus Himself says just before He is about to raise Lazarus from the dead in John Chapter 11. He calls Himself “God’s Son”:
1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” 4When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”John 11:1-4 (NIV)
Note also below how Jesus accepts as true and accurate this amazing comment from Nathanael. He does not contradict him or deny being the Son of God:
49Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”John 1:49-51 (NIV)
Now look at how Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well and how he openly declares Himself to be the Messiah:
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”John 4:22-26 (NIV)
Then see the response of the Samaritan people in that village and how they clearly knew Him to be the Messiah and the Saviour of the world:
39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”John 4:39-42 (NIV)
There is a widespread school of thought that wants to view Jesus as just a “good teacher”. If we choose to see Him that way then He can be fitted in alongside other belief systems or religions. Many people think Jesus would not object to such mixtures. They see Him as a liberal with an “inclusive approach” who would want to “promote diversity”. But, it’s not true. That is a false view of Jesus. There are a number of reasons for that false view of Him being so widespread: