Are you telling me that Jesus is the only way to God? How can you say that all the other religions are wrong? How can you say that with my ___________ (Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim) friend will not be in heaven?
These are fantastic questions.
The first thing to clear up is that I am not claiming that Jesus is the only way to salvation. The church is not claiming that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Pastor Brad, Katie, Justin are not claiming that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
The person who claims to be the only pathway to salvation is Jesus.
It is Jesus who declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
The Book of Acts echoes this teaching, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
For the Christian who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the exclusivity of Jesus as the only pathway to salvation is not a church teaching, it’s a Jesus teaching. This is what the Bible says.
Either Jesus is God and therefore, everything that he claims are the statements and declarations of God, or these are the crazy rants of a lunatic. There is no middle ground.
One cannot claim Jesus to be a wise and good teacher and at the same time have Jesus proclaiming that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Either Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, or he’s a raving lunatic for thinking that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world.
There is absolutely no middle ground.
And if Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then his word and his teaching is the truth. We can like it or not. It doesn’t change the fact that it is God’s teaching. Either we will receive all of Christ’s teaching or we will have to reject Christ as a lunatic.
One of the saddest things about this is that while Jesus asks us to proclaim this good news to the world, the church has not done a very good job of proclaiming this good news. The arrogant and haughty, better than everyone else, way this truth has been taught, proclaimed, and shared has made this good news feel anything but good.
For a moment, lets just say that Jesus is God, that Jesus is telling the truth, that Jesus really is the only way for human beings to truly come alive and live the life that we were created to live. Wouldn’t it be absolutely fantastic that we can finally know a way to live life the way it was meant to be lived? Wouldn’t it be good news if we could finally start living live with purpose and passion?
This morning, I stopped by Starbucks before coming to church. In the parking lot was parked one of the most beautiful cars ever made – Ferrari 308 GTS (or better known as the Ferrari that Magnum PI drove). Imagine if the owner of that Ferrari was a farmer and because that was the only vehicle he had he was trying to use that car to plow. The Ferrari would absolutely suck at plowing. It has a terribly low ground clearance. It’s tires have no grip on dirt and mud. It would constantly get stuck. How sad would that be? Here is one of the most beautiful machines ever made, and it would be absolutely horrible as a tractor.
But that’s not what the Ferrari was made for. That beauty was made for a racetrack. Get that car out in the open road, and it will sing!
When we are living our lives apart from God’s will for us, we are like the Ferrari on a farm. We constantly get stuck. We’re not very useful and keep failing at the task before us.
But we weren’t built to be a tractor. When we live our lives the way we were created to live, you should hear us sing!
Everyone wants to live a life with purpose and passion. Everyone wants to live a life that counts and matters. And everyone can. Because in Jesus, we can discover what we were created for.
That’s why Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
And if Jesus was trying to help people discover their God-given purpose and identities, and Jesus shared with the world how we might come to know who we are in and through him, wouldn’t that be absolutely great news?
Our job as the church is to share this amazing good news in a humble, gracious, loving way to help people discover their place in God’s kingdom. This is good news!