I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
That, of course, is John 14:6. Those were the words of Jesus Himself and sum up His thoughts about how a person comes to a relationship with God. It seems like a fairly straightforward statement, really. Jesus did not say He was one of the ways or one truth, or that there was any life other than Him. He stated unequivocally that the only access to God the Father was through Him, God the Son. Nonetheless, we live in a time where truth is considered relative, any belief is okay as long as it is sincere; to say there is only one way is considered hateful and exclusionary.
Most people with any spiritual inclination whatsoever would tend to put some credence to words spoken by Jesus. Of course, an atheist would not, but this article is not really for them. This is really to address those who hold the idea that many paths lead to God. We can’t really say that Jesus was just a good man, a good teacher, and one of many ways to Heaven. If He was outright lying in that Scripture and knew He was not the only way to God, then we should never follow a man such as that. If He genuinely believed what He said, but was just monumentally wrong, then we should never follow a man such as that. In either of those two cases, Jesus was certainly not a good man, or a good teacher or any path to Heaven whatsoever. The only real alternatives are to totally disbelieve or completely believe the words He said in that verse. That is simply C.S Lewis’ famous Liar, Lunatic or Lord argument and it remains a valid one.
We hopefully agree at this point that payment is due. See this article for a discussion on that subject:
Jesus Paid it All- Part 1- Your Really DON’T Want To Pay Your Own Way
I hope we also agree that we have no ability to do anything whatsoever to pay the price for our sin, other than the Biblically prescribed one of death. A review of that subject can be found here:
Jesus Paid it All – Part 2 – Your Payment’s No Good Here
Belief in God, sincerely held, is also not enough. After all, James taught us that even the demons believe. (James 2:19). Not only do they believe, but they tremble in fear! Sincerity does not accomplish a thing. Jesus said in our verse above, that He is the Truth. Sincerely held belief in an untruth does not make it true, no matter how sincere the belief. Some examples follow. One can sincerely disbelieve in the Law of Gravity, but if that person steps off a building, he or she will soon discover they were wrong. The laws of physics trump sincerely held belief. One can sincerely believe auto theft is okay, but a Judge will quickly show that person the error of their ways. The laws of the land trump sincerely held belief. We could follow examples until the end of time. The bottom line is, law trumps sincerely help belief every time.
God is the Supreme Lawgiver. His law is just and perfect. We fail to meet His standard, making us lawbreakers. The penalty for transgressions of God’s law is death. Death is both physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is separation from God eternally in a place of torment called Hell.
The reason Jesus is the only way to God is that only Jesus could pay the needed price. He was able to pay it because He was fully human. Humans broke the law and a human had to pay. He was able to pay it because He was sinless and perfect; Jesus never transgressed The Law. Only because He had no penalty of His own to pay could He pay mine. He was able to pay it because He is God. Only God could pay the infinite penalty required on behalf of every person who had lived, was living in His day, is living now and will live into the future.
Just a quick counter to those who claim that Christianity’s statement that Jesus is the only way is exclusionary follows next. Jesus payment on the Cross for sin is not exclusionary; it is available to anybody. No one is denied access to it. Read the following for an explanation:
Jesus Paid It All – Part 3 – The Payment Was Enough For Everyone
The payment Jesus made for us is not exclusionary, but it is extremely exclusive. Matthew 7:13,14 teaches us that the path to destruction is wide but the path to salvation is narrow. No one is excluded, but many will decline the offer.
How does one accept? Understand how you have failed before a Holy God. Agree with Him that your sin is wrong and an offense to Him and deserving of punishment. Believe that Jesus paid the price you could never pay and accept Him as your Savior and Lord. Repentance toward God and belief in Jesus Christ, it’s that simple.