Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Jesus the only way to heaven?

This question has been asked countless times and in countless ways over the past 2,000 years. To provide a credible answer, we need to look at what the Scriptures say.

The Testimony of Jesus Christ:

John 14

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14 is one of my favorite sections of the New Testament. It has provided, and still continues to provide, comfort and assurance to many Christians.

The words of our Lord are clear: He alone is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. No one can come to the Father except through Him. Earlier in the same Gospel, Jesus said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

The Testimony of the Apostles

Acts 4

1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
5 ¶And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

According to Peter and his fellow apostles, Jesus was and is the only Savior of mankind. According to the authors of the New Testament, He is the Creator, Sustainer, Messiah, True Vine, Door, Good Shepherd, Prophet, Teacher, High Priest, Master, Son of Man, Son of God and the King of Kings and LORD of Lords.

The Final Verdict

In the centuries since the New Testament was written, thousands and perhaps millions of people have given their lives because they believe that Jesus alone is Savior and Lord. They were crucified, tortured, burned at the stake, fed to wild animals and killed by swords and bullets. Would you die for a lie?

To say Jesus was a great man and teacher is not enough. To say he was a great prophet is not enough. In the words of the late C. S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity:

"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

And in the the words of the “prince of preachers”, Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

“If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything He is nothing to you.”

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