The Only Way
Pastor Jeffery Archie
Pastor Jeffery Archie
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
I spoke at a funeral a couple of years ago where most of the audience believed that there are many ways to God. As I scanned the audience, I looked forward to the opportunity to present the teachings of Jesus Christ to a group that had, perhaps, never heard his gospel preached before.
The system of belief that all religions are the same has been a foundational teaching of some middle-eastern cultures for several centuries, and more recently, in our society, this system of belief has affected the consciousness of our youth.
What is more, is that it has become a taboo, in our society, to discuss or even question another’s system of belief, without the fear of public scorn or ridicule.
However, whenever Christians share their belief in a sovereign God, they are often viewed as judgmental, closed-minded, and overbearing zealots, who are trying to force their beliefs onto others.
Yet, I find this criticism of Christians and their system of belief hypocritical because their critics violate their own logic, by not only debating and questioning the Christian’s system of belief, but also by rigidly refusing to acknowledge the opinions of anyone who does not believe as they do.
Oftentimes, while critics of Christianity are ridiculing and scolding Christians for sharing their beliefs they are utilizing the same tactics to promote their own.
Additionally, one of the most often heard criticisms of Christianity is its assertion of religious exclusivity; which, is the belief that only one particular religion or system of belief is absolutely true, while all others are either in error or are essentially false.
The idea that there are no absolutes and that all things are relative (whatever feels right to you) permeates the world that we live in today; so much so, to the point that there appears to be no clear difference between what is right and what is wrong.
Our youth today are inundated with syncretic views that blend many different beliefs, religions, teachings, and philosophies together, which often lead them down the path of relativism; where they have no clear moral absolutes. And, sadly, as a result, countless youth have no clue as to what is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false, and how they are to determine the difference.
The scripture cited above, in John 14:6, which was spoken directly by Jesus Christ to his disciples not only contradicts, but utterly rejects any idea of relativism, as Jesus specifically declares that he is “the [only] way,” “the [only] truth,” and “the [only] life” he does not say that he is “a” way, “a” truth, or “a” life.
Jesus deliberately emphasizes that only those who believe in him as the one and only true living Savior and follow his teachings exclusively can know God. Thus, we must either take Jesus Christ at his word that he is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man can know the father, but through him or declare him to be some sort of heretic (which, if you are a believer you know is certainly not the case).
Ultimately, the fact is that Jesus Christ taught religious exclusivity.
Furthermore, Jesus taught that he is God in the flesh and this was understood to mean exactly that by those who heard him speak. In fact, in John 8:58, Jesus made the bold proclamation “Before Abraham was I AM.” This phrase is a direct allusion to Exodus 3:14 where God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and made Himself known by this name. Jesus’ detractors understood this point well enough that they wanted to kill him for blaspheming God. Despite, his teachings and proven power through his many miraculous works, Jesus’ critics willfully denied that he was not only the way, the truth, and the life, but also that he was God in the flesh.
Even more, Jesus claimed that his relationship with God was unique and different from any other man (cp. John 5:18) and that he shared the same nature or substance of God (John 10:30). This caused as much controversy as a Christian, today, making the same claim about Jesus.
The conclusion is quite simple, except you believe that Jesus Christ is who he says he is, your eternal destiny is at stake.
As Christians, we often attempt not to offend non-believers by trying to be politically correct concerning our convictions, but Jesus commands that we spread the gospel and good news of a Savior who came to the earth and died so that mankind may be saved.
Jesus, himself, went against the Jewish customs and conventions of his day to pursue those on the fringes of society. He was regularly criticized for his associations with those who did not fit into societal norms or standards. Jesus’ message was clear that the gospel is for everyone that will both hear and receive it. God sent Jesus so that all men can be saved. John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not die, but have everlasting life.”
God’s plan actually includes everyone! In this way we can say that Jesus taught inclusivity within his message of religious exclusivity. Jesus’ practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized by society at large makes anyone and everyone capable of being included in the body of Christ, but only through their recognition that Jesus is the one and only source of eternal life. As believers, this is what we must affirm to the world because our Lord has commissioned us to preach and share this very message with all men.
At the end of the day, God truly loves mankind with an unmatched love, and he is not willing that anyone perish (2 Peter 3:9), but we must trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, because he did for us what we were unable to do for ourselves; he delivered us from sin. Thus, this gives him exclusive rights to give specific guidelines for what we should believe and how we are to exercise those beliefs, if we truly have faith in God’s plan of salvation for all mankind.