Did Jesus Claim to Be the Only Way To Be Saved? #363

Hello friends and Happy Christmas Eve to all of you! No matter what your circumstance right now: Whether you are mourning the death of a loved one, battling Covid, fighting anxiety, going through extreme health issues, or some other trial…the good news of Christmas is that God sent His son to SAVE. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus comes that we might have abundant life in Him. In this world, you and I will have much tribulation, but we must take courage, because Jesus has overcome the world! (John 16:33) Today we read 2nd Chronicles 29, Zechariah 11, John 14, and Revelation 15. Welcome aboard to new listeners in France, Bihar, India, Monterey and San Francisco!

Today we will revisit a topic we’ve already covered (way back in March!), but will do so in a fresh way, of course. Did Jesus claim to be the only way to be saved? Put another way, did Jesus claim to be the only way to Heaven and eternal life with the Father? Let’s read our John 14 passage and find out.

I find John 14:6-7 to be one of the more important passages in the Bible:

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

In fact, I used it as my high school yearbook quote, even when I wasn’t following God in a particularly strong way – even then, I could tell that this passage packed some major truth. Two important things Jesus is saying here:

#1 – He is the only way to God the Father

#2 If you know Jesus and if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father, which strikes me as yet another claim by Jesus to Godhood.

We are living in an interesting time….Pastor John Shuck of Beaverton, Oregon “Someone quipped that my congregation is BYOG: Bring Your Own God. I use that and invite people to ‘bring their own God’—or none at all,” ….. “While the symbol ‘God’ is part of our cultural tradition, you can take it or leave it or redefine it to your liking….“The concept of ‘God’ is a product of myth-making and ‘God’ is no longer credible as a personal, supernatural being,”  “[E]ven though I hold those beliefs, I am still a proud minister. But I don’t appreciate being told that I’m not truly a Christian,”

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims,” Larycia Hawkins wrote, “because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.” At least two Wheaton College professors commented on Hawkins’ post, expressing support for her statement and gesture. New Testament Professor Gene Green wrote, “Whom did Jesus identify with and stand with? Those whom the rest rejected. Thanks, L.”Similarly, communications Professor Michael Stauffer wrote, “Absolutely! You go girl!” 

 “GIVE YOUR LIFE to take the good news to THE ISLAMIC people. Sacrifice for them, honor them, and serve them. Love them sacrificially and pray for them and DO NOT TREAT THEM AS ENEMIES, but go to them with the good news that they deserve no less than we did.. But do not LIE to them by telling them that they serve the same God as the One True God, Yahweh. Do not dishonor them that way. Such a thing is an affront to the Word of God. (and, for that matter, to the Koran)“  To tell Muslims that their God is the God of the Bible is the ultimate act of UNLOVINGNESS if Jesus Christ is indeed the ONE WAY to get to Heaven.

Two comments on Professor Hawkins post got the most “likes” 1. Adnan Malik As a Muslim, I pray to Allah. My faith is the continuation of the faith once revealed to Moses and then to Jesus. Allah is the God that Christians recognize as the “Father,” and the Jews as “Yahweh.” The Muslims worship the same God as that of the Jews and the Christians. We believe that the Jews and the Christians are the “People of the Book.” 

  1. Pastor David Leigh: Love without action is no love at all. Those who oppose her, including our alma mater, join with ISIL in promoting enmity instead of peace between our faith communities — both of which suffer violence and abuse because of ignorance and intolerance. In this they hand another victory to terror.

So – is Mohammed the way to Heaven? Will good Islamic people (fill in the blank…) go to Heaven by trusting in Mohammed? 

Some Scripture:

Acts 4:4-12 4 Now as they were speaking to the people, the priests, the commander of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, 2 because they were provoked that they were teaching the people and proclaiming the resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as the example. 3 So they seized them and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening. 4 But many of those who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000.
5 The next day, their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem 6 with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander, and all the members of the high-priestly family.7 After they had Peter and John stand before them, they asked the question: “By what power or in what name have you done this?”

8 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is:

the stone rejected by you builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

Isaiah 44: “This is what the Lord says—    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:I am the first and I am the last;    apart from me there is no God.7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.    Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people,     and what is yet to come—    yes, let them foretell what will come. 8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.    Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

1 Timothy 2:5 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

 John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.  BONUS: Isaiah 43:10-11  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.

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

So we see that both Jesus and the rest of the Word of God make exclusive claims to salvation that are unmistakable, and yet quite offensive to the modern hearer, who bristles at claims of exclusivity. Pastor Tim Keller discusses this dynamic:

First, one of the things people say is it’s arrogant to say Jesus is the supreme Savior. Here we are in verse 12, very, very out there, where he says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
People say, “Look, you can’t do that anymore. You can’t say that anymore, Christians. You can believe in Jesus. Great. Just don’t say he’s the only or the best or the superior way to find God. Don’t say he’s better than other great teachers and other great leaders like Plato or Moses or Muhammad or Buddha or Gandhi. You can believe in Jesus; just don’t believe he’s better than or superior to any of these other great religious founders or teachers.”
I always go, “Wait. I can believe in Jesus. Do you mean the Jesus who said, ‘Before Abraham was, I already existed’? Do you mean the Jesus who said, ‘I’m going to heaven, but when I come back I’m going to destroy all death and evil and suffering in the world’? Do you mean the Jesus who said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me’?”
That’s the only Jesus we have in history, and here’s what you have to realize. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” That may sound very arrogant, but the fact is that Jesus himself said that, and because he said that and no other religious founder said it … No other religious founder claimed to work at that level. Therefore, there’s no way to just believe in Jesus as if he’s the same as others.
A perfect example and a poignant example to me … Toyohiko Kagawa, a great Japanese Christian leader a couple of generations ago, tells the story of his conversion like this. I’ve always found it very, very moving. He says something like, “I am grateful for Shinto, for Buddhism, for Confucianism. I owe much to these faiths. Yet they could not meet me at the moment of my heart’s deepest needs.
I was a pilgrim journeying on a long road that had no turning. I was weary. I was footsore. I wandered through a dark and dismal world where tragedies were thick. Buddhism teaches great compassion, but since the beginning of time, who has ever said, ‘This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many unto remission of sin’?”
Do you hear that? He says, “I learned a lot from Buddhism, but Buddha never said, ‘My blood has been poured out to cleanse you from sin, to put you right with God.’ ” Buddha didn’t say anything like that. Confucius never said anything like that. Muhammad never said anything like that. See, these other people never made claims like that. They could say, “Follow my teaching. Do this. Here’s the way to God,” but nobody came down to this level, Kagawa was saying. “Nobody met me at this level.”

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive, 2012-2013 (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).

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