More than 100!

I’m fond of pointing out that there are 100 passages teaching that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  In other words, they are far, far more passages than just John 14:6 (Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.) — although that alone is clear enough.

The number of passages isn’t what makes it true, of course.  His resurrection does that.  But it does mean that anyone claiming the name of Christ must hold to that explicit and supremely important teaching, among other essentials of the faith.  Anyone who disagrees isn’t teaching something a little different from Christianity, they are teaching the opposite.  We have a very specific term for people like them: Non-Christians.  I have seen false teachers try to rationalize away John 14:6 when they thought that was the only verse they had to get rid of, but that is just more evidence of their being wolves.

But there are actually more than 100 passages.  Just read through Ephesians or Colossians, for example, and note how nothing makes sense if Jesus isn’t the exclusive way to salvation.

Consider this as one example.  There is no room for Vishnu, Mohammad, Buddha or anyone else here:

Ephesians 1:1–14 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Some things in the Bible may be difficult to understand, but this isn’t one of them.  Jesus is the only way.  People shouldn’t sit in judgment of God’s gracious rescue plan and insist that there be other paths.  They should rejoice that there is a path for us sinners at all!

Here are 10 to start with:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:11-12 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 16:30-31 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

John 10:7-8 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

Jesus died for this?

I was getting a lot of traffic for this 2007 post so I thought I’d re-run it.

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In an episode from The Simpsons where Homer sues the church, Marge tries to discourage him by saying that he’ll be made fun of in the church bulletin. Then Homer shows her that they already are making fun of him.

jesus-died-for-this.jpg

This was just a little gag in the episode, of course. But the world could plug a picture of any of us at our worst possible moment into that bulletin and ask incredulously, “Jesus died for this?”

It points to a grand and shocking truth: Yes, Jesus did die for this – for slobs who fall asleep in church, and for those who sin countless times in countless ways (i.e., you and me). Satan wants you to believe that you are beyond hope and unforgivable, but that is a lie. (He’ll be just as glad if you believe the opposite lie — that you are just swell and good enough for God on your own without Jesus.)

2 Corinthians 5:15-17 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

The world can’t handle that truth. It constantly tells you that you have to earn your way back to God with your good deeds. But that is futile. No amount of good deeds can bridge that gap. But there is good news:

Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and 10:9: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Yes, Jesus died for “this” — the sinners. God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Does the complexity of the Bible mean it can’t be true?

A criticism of the Bible is that it is complex and many haven’t read it all, so how can it be true?  A commenter at another blog wrote:

If even theologians can not agree what is in the bible and what is the will of the god of christians, how could the general christian population, let alone us who are not christians be expected to?

If a god expects humans to make critical decisions on their lives based on some old religious tome (and not on pop lyrics), it is an exercice bound to fail.

But consider the criminal on the cross (Luke 23), the woman at the well (John 4) or the Philippian jailer (Acts 16 — “What must I do to be saved?”) as just a few examples.  They were saved with the most basic knowledge and approach: Trusting in Jesus.  I doubt would they have won any Bible trivia contests.  They hadn’t been to seminary, taught Sunday School, etc.  But they were saved for eternity.

The key themes of the Bible are plain, but as you might expect with the most serious and important topic in the universe, there are complex matters as well.  That does not diminish the truth of the Bible at all.  I tend to agree with the saying that the plain matters of the Bible are the most important and the most important matters are plain.

And the Bible is much more clear than it is made out to be by skeptics.  For example, there are over 100 direct and indirect claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Are verses like this not clear? 1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.