I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Did Jesus believe that there are multiple paths to God or that there is only one way to God? Let’s look at what Jesus said about the idea of God’s exclusive offer of salvation.
First, Jesus taught there are two possible eternal destinations for people. In Matthew 25:46, talking about the judgment, Jesus said, “[The unrighteous] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” We are not all going to the same place when we die. The Bible says there are two distinct destinations for everyone who dies.
Second, Jesus taught that most people will spend eternity in hell. Not long ago, someone was telling me about his visit to another country. He said, “With the billions of people there who don’t know Christ, it makes you wonder how Christianity can be the only way of salvation.” The fact that only a few and not the many are going to be saved verifies that Jesus was telling the truth, because Jesus said the majority of humanity will spend eternity in hell. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “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. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” According to Jesus, there are two spiritual paths in the world: one that leads to eternal life, and one that leads to eternal death. Most of humanity is on the road that leads to eternal death.
Third, Jesus taught that He is the exclusive way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” When people accuse you of being intolerant and hateful because you insist that Christ is the only path that leads to heaven, remind them that you are not making up that doctrine; you are only repeating the words of the founder of your faith, Jesus Christ. When people have a problem with exclusivity, it is because they have a problem with Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t the only one who taught that He is the exclusive way of salvation. The New Testament writers also said Jesus is the only way to heaven. Think about the apostle Paul. In Romans 1:16, he said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Paul said there is only one way to be saved. Or think about the apostle Peter. What did Peter say about the exclusivity of Jesus? After he saw the resurrected Christ, Peter was transformed into a courageous defender of the faith. One time the Jewish officials told him to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. How did Peter respond? In Acts 4:12, he said, “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.” There are not many names; there is no other name except the name of Jesus. He is the only way to eternal life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “God’s Exclusive Christmas Offer to You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.