One of the foundations of Christian belief is that Jesus is the only way to salvation, the only way to God. Two of the most common scriptures that come to my mind, the ones that I would initially appeal to, are:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
There are more if I thought about it, but when I heard that Greg Koukl of Stand To Reason ministries wrote the book Jesus The Only Way 100 Verses that listed 100 verses to support that Jesus is the only way, I had to get it and read it. Then, while at EPS in San Antonio this year, they gave out free bookmarks that summed up the book. Having the bookmark sit in front of me for the past month is the inspiration for this blog.
Understanding that Jesus is the only way is helpful in combating the cultural notion of religious pluralism, that all religions are equally legitimate paths to God. How is this relevant? According to a national study of youth and religion, 70% of 18-23-year-olds reject the idea that only one religion is true. And according to a Probe Ministries survey of born-again young adults, less than half believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
From the bookmark version (which is actually just a compressed version of the booklet), Greg Koukl says this (all quotes in this blog are from the bookmark version):
The ancient Christian teaching that trust in Jesus is anyone’s only hope for salvation clashes head-on with the modern idea that all religions are equally legitimate paths to God. Sadly, this “religious pluralism” is a notion many Christians have embraced too.
Is Jesus the only way? Is salvation dependent on faith in Christ? That’s what Jesus taught with crystal clarity…
Not only is Jesus the only source of salvation (since forgiveness is not possible without the payment Jesus provides), but trust in Him is the only means of salvation (since He’s the only one who solved our problem – sin).
The following verses identify nine distinct lines of argument that biblically prove Jesus taught this truth and entrusted it to every one He trained to take His message after Him – the apostles.
Neither Jesus nor His disciples were religious pluralists. When a hundred passages argue the same point from a variety of different angles, it cannot be mistaken, only ignored.
In his book (and his bookmark), he breaks those 100 verses down into the Clearest Statements and then 9 reasons that Jesus is the only way.
THE CLEAREST STATEMENTS
At the top of the list of scriptures that he gives for the clearest statements are the 2 that I listed above (though he expands Acts 4:12 to include Acts 4:11 as well.) The other scriptures he gives are: Acts 16:30-31, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 John 2:23, 1 john 5:11-12, Luke 10:16, Luke 12:8-9, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 8:24, and John 10:7-8b.
Now let’s look at the 9 reasons that Greg gives that Jesus is the only way.
REASON #1: Jesus Is The Only Source Of Salvation For The World.
Man, guilty of rebellion, wanders as an outcast, but God does not abandon him. The Messiah would be the true door, the bread of life, the only way to the Father, bringing eternal life to those who trust in Him.
The primary verse given for Jesus being the only source of salvation for the world is Acts 4:11-12:
11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Other scriptures given to support this are: Mark 14:61-62, John 3:14-16, John 6:51, John 6:53-54, John 6:68-69, John 10:9a, John 15:1a, John 16:8-9. John 17:3, Acts 16:30-31, Rom 10:9, 1 Tim 2:5, Titus 1:4, Titus 2:13, Titus 3:6, Heb 12:2, 1 John 5:20.
REASON #2: Jesus Is The Father’s Choice.
The Father’s rescue operation was carefully planned from the beginning. He chose one man, Jesus, His Son. God exalts Him alone and puts all things into His hand. We’re to listen to Him, believe in Him, trust Him.
Primary scripture: 1 John 3:23a
23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
Other scriptures: Matt 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35, John 3:33-34, John 6:28-29, John 6:40, John 6:45b, John 16:15a, Phil 2:9-11, Heb 1:1-3, 1 John 4:14, Luke 10:22, John 3:35.
REASON #3: Rejection Of Jesus Is Rejection Of The Father.
Our responses to Jesus is the acid test of our true loyalty to the Father. He who loves the Father honors the One who the Father sends. He who does not accept Jesus does not accept the Father, either.
Primary scripture: 1 John 4:2-3
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
Other scriptures: John 5:23b, John 5:37-38, John 8:19, John 8:42a, John 12:48-50, John 14:7, John 15:20b-21, John 15:23, John 16:2-3, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 2:23, 1 John 4:15, 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:9-12, 2 John 1:7-9a, Luke 10:16.
REASON #4: Rejection Of Jesus Brings Judgment And Wrath.
God’s pardon comes only through Jesus. He alone delivers from the wrath to come. Reject Him and stand guilty before God to suffer the penalty of eternal destruction.
Primary scripture: 2 Thess 1:7-9
7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Other scriptures: Luke 12:8-9, John 5:24, Luke 11:23, Luke 20:17-18, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 15:5b-6, Acts 3:22-23, 1 Thess 1:9-10, Heb 2:2-4, 1 Pet 2:4-8, Rev 17:14, Rev 19:13-16.
REASON #5: Jesus Is The One Who Provides Forgiveness From Sin.
The prophet Isaiah made it clear that our goodness weighs nothing in the balance when compared to our sin (Is 64:6). We desperately need forgiveness. Only Jesus has authority to forgive. As the Lamb of God He paid for sin with His own life. Apart from Him we die in our sins; in Him we are rescued from condemnation.
Primary scripture: John 8:24
24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Other scriptures: Luke 7:48, Mark 2:10-12, Luke 5:24-25, John 1:29, Acts 2:38, 1 John 2:2, Rom 8:1
REASON #6: Many Imposters Will Claim To Provide Others Ways To Salvation
Jesus warned us in advance of the dangers of pluralism. It’s a ruse, a deception of false christs and prophets – spiritual thieves and robbers – who mislead many by offering the broad way that leads to destruction.
Primary scripture: Matt 7:13-14
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Other scriptures: Gal 1:8-9, John 10:7-8, John 10:10, Matt 7:15, Matt 24:4-5, Matt 24:23-25, Mark 13:22-23, Luke 13:24, John 10:7-8a, Jude 1:4
REASON #7: There Are No Other Alternatives For Salvation.
Picture Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, sweating blood in anguish over the ordeal ahead of Him. He pleads with the Father, begging for any other way of salvation that would spare Him from the cross. But there are no alternatives, no other systems of religious ceremony or righteous works. The Messiah had to die, writing with His blood – in the Lamb’s Book of Life – the names of those He has rescued.
Primary scripture: Gal 2:21
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
Other Scriptures: John 18:37b, Rom 8:8-9, Matt 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:41-42, Rev 21:27
REASON #8: All Nations Are To Be Given This Gospel
Jesus gave one last command before He ascended into Heaven: the Great Commission. It would be an odd directive, though, if pluralism were true. Why cover the globe with a message no one needs since each person’s sincerity already serves Him well? The command to go to all nations makes sense only if all are lost without Christ.
Primary scripture: Luke 24:47
and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Other scriptures: Luke 12:8-9, John 5:24, Luke 11:23, Luke 20:17-18, John 3:18, John 3:36, John 15:5b-6, Acts 3:22-23, 1 Thess 1:9-10, Heb 2:2-4, 1 Pet 2:4-8, Rev 17:14, Rev 19:13-16
REASON #9: Jesus Will Be Man’s Judge On The Final Day
God has appointed a day of judgement when all accounts will finally be settled. On that day, one man will hold the gavel. It won’t be Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, or any other religious leader. They will all be in the dock with the rest of us. All men will be judged by the only perfect man, Jesus.
Primary scripture: John 5:22-23
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
2 Tim 4:1
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
Other scriptures: Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26, 1 Pet 3:21b-22, John 5:26-27, John 17:2, Acts 17:30-31, Rom 2:16
If you like this blog, then I highly recommend Greg Koukl’s booklet Jesus the Only Way: 100 Verses.