Ever since Jesus first said, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6), Christians have maintained that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, the only way to peace with God. But in this postmodern, pluralistic culture, how can Christians seriously make such an exclusive claim? Good questions deserve good answers, and we believe that’s a good question. To address the issue we must defer to the Bible’s impeccable logic.
God is the great Creator; and we were all created by Him and for Him. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is the very first sentence in the Bible (Genesis 1:1). Elsewhere we read, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it; the world and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1); and again, “It is God Who made us and we are His” (Psalm 100:3). On this point the Scriptures are undeniably logical: If God made us, then we belong to Him; and if we belong to Him, we are duty bound to obey Him.
Unfortunately, we have failed miserably in that regard. The Bible teaches that, from the very beginning, all people have failed to live up to God’s expressed standard. Even in a perfect setting, our earliest ancestors failed to place the just and simple requirements of God ahead of their own appetites and curiosities. Sin – the Bible word for anything and everything contrary to the nature, desire, or plan of God – has become the common experience and the common problem of us all. As the apostle Paul succinctly put it, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Here again, the Bible is impeccably logical. A perfect and holy God, Who created people in His own image to know and love and serve and please Him, deserves precisely that. And so, it stands to reason, sinful folks forfeit their access to a holy God. Add to that conclusion God’s own righteous declaration that the appropriate consequence of sin is death – both now and forever – and we have a serious problem.
No matter how hard I try, the fact is I can never be perfect. Even if I did everything right from this moment on, that wouldn’t take care of the bad things I’ve said and thought and done in the past. Sin is just too pervasive; it has proven to be too much for me.
That’s where Jesus comes in. What we could not do for ourselves, God has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Specifically, He has forever dealt with our sin problem by paying the price for it Himself. In spite of our many failings, the Bible is clear that God still loves us – not because we are so loveable, but because He is so loving. And so, in His great grace and mercy, God sent His Son Jesus into the world as a man to live under His just and holy requirements for men. This Jesus did flawlessly. And, having lived a sinless life, He then offered up that sinless life in payment for our sinful ones. In fact, according to the Bible, He offered it in payment for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2). We need Jesus because He alone has dealt with our sin problem.
Our response to all this is simply to receive God’s mercy by grace through faith - to believe this good news and benefit from it. We believe God is Who He says He is - the perfect Creator of all things, deserving of our loving obedience. We believe we are who God says we are – eternal beings created in His image, yet marred and broken by sin and therefore unable to save ourselves. And we believe Jesus is Who God says He is - the sinless Son of God Who, through His sacrifice on the cross, takes away the sin of the world. Once we acknowledge these truths, we respond in faith by surrendering our lives to the control of Jesus.
So, why Jesus? In short, because we were made for Him and His glory, and He alone has made a way for us to live in peace and harmony with the Creator God of the universe.