Sunday, July 19, 2015
John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'"
This upcoming week will be dedicated to vacation Bible school at our church. In addition to the many wonderful lessons and activities planned for the children, we will also be having a class for the adults. The VBS theme verse is found in one of the verses quoted above - Isaiah 30:21. The VBS will aim to show kids and adults alike why Jesus alone is the only unique guide in matters pertaining to life, eternal life and the after life. As I was looking over the first night in which I will be teaching, this precious truth of Jesus Christ being the only way or the only guide was pressed deep into my heart. Today's post is all about helping readers to see why Jesus is the only way, and that there is no other Biblical alternative to understanding His Person, work and mission.
Why Jesus is the only way
Sadly today a growing majority of Christians are denying this cardinal truth of Jesus Christ being the only way, truth and life. In Isaiah's time, Jerusalem and the surrounding environs of the Southern Kingdom of Judah had abandoned their faith in Yahweh. Much like their Northern counterparts in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the Southern kingdom had fallen prey to worshipping other deities of the surrounding nations. The kings of Judah were making alliances with Egypt to try to stave off a threat from the Assyrian Empire who had already defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel. In short, Isaiah's nation and people had turned to other "ways" and "deliverances" for their hope. The outcome of their decision was doomed, and yet Yahweh promises at the end of Isaiah 30 that He will restore the very people who had turned their backs on Him for the sake of His covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hence the reason for the central affirmation of Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is theway, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.'
In today's world, not just one voice, but many are competing for the attention of many Christians who perhaps waver on the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. A 2011 Barna research survey of those claiming to be born-again Christians in America discovered that 43% believe that other religions beside Christianity teach similar truths, just from different perspectives (https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/484-what-americans-believe-about-universalism-and-pluralism#.VaUjsflViko) A similar percentage in that same poll indicated a more "inclusive view" of salvation, meaning that someone could be reconciled to God in salvation through other religions besides Christianity.
Those respondants have been undoubtedly affected moreso by cultural pluralism - the belief that there is no one "Truth" and that all religions teach the same thing in different ways and promote many ways to God - than the Bible.
The Bible leaves no space for marshalling the belief that salvation is found outside of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. The same One who spoke those words through Isaiah in His day of being "The Voice" who said "this is the way, walk in it" is the Same One who stated in John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" To believe that Jesus Christ is the Only, Unique Way of salvation is at the heart of Biblical revelation. Denial of this cardinal doctrine affects other important doctrinal tenets pertaining to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. To quickly note the key New Testament verses that speaks about major points in describing the Person and work of Jesus Christ and our salvation will demonstrate why Christians must assert that Jesus is the only way.
1. He is the Unique revelation of God in human flesh
John 1:1 begins with these words - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." As "The Word", the Son of God pre-existed eternally with the Father and the Spirit as the One Triune God of the Bible. When the Son came into this world to assume full humanity, He is described as "The Word made flesh" in John 1:14; "God" or "He who was manifested in the flesh" in 1 Timothy 3:16 and "the fulness of the Godhead bodily" in Colossians 2:9. To deny the exclusivity of Jesus Christ is to deny that He alone fully reveals God. If other religions have as much saving value as Christianity, then their various deities and manifestations would reveal a deity far different from the Bible, and thus point completely away from Jesus. The very identity and revelation of the God of the Bible is set aside when we deny Jesus being the only way.
2. Jesus Christ is unique in His birth
Luke 2:10-11 "But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." When coupled with the other scriptures that speaks of Christ's virgin birth (Luke 1:35) and fulfillment of prophecy concerning the unique beginning of His humanity (Matthew 1:20-23; Isaiah 7:14), the uniqueness of Jesus' birth makes Him the only way to God. By remaining very God, Jesus' existence as a man began with the virgin birth conception (Luke 1:35; Philippians 2:5-11). Both truths are foundational to understanding the Person and work of Jesus Christ. No other religious figure or religious ideology teaches anything close to what is seen in the incarnation of Jesus Christ as Eternal Deity. If anything, the virgin birth and incarnation of Jesus Christ underscores why He is the only way.
3. Jesus Christ's unique life and ministry
Matthew 4:23-25 "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics,paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan." By asserting the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the only way to God and salvation, further proof is found in the life and ministry He led. No other figure in all of history did as much, nor did it as perfectly as Jesus Christ. His 50 or so parables, 35 miracles and fulfillment of over 100 prophecies testify to His uniqueness as God in human flesh and as the perfect man who ever remained God. Jesus was not just a teacher, nor just a spiritual leader or just an example. Jesus didn't come to proclaim a way to God, He came claiming to be that one, unique way. People who believe on Him are saved by His life of perfect righteousness, since in His active obedience He provided the life of righteousness needed to be credited to sinners who are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
4. Jesus Christ's unique death and resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:1-6 states - "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve." As the case for Jesus Christ being the only way builds, without doubt His death and resurrection stand out as premier proof. Galatians 3:13 and 4:4-5 both testify to how Christ alone could bear the curse of sin. As already noted in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, this same Jesus who died as the lone, ultimate sacrifice for sin also physically raised from the dead. No other person in human history has ever physically resurrected. Jesus' resurrection demonstrated the reality of the cross. His unique death and resurrection, as well as His unique pre-existence, birth and life demonstrate why Jesus is the only way.